Valor awards for 53 emergency responders

Philadelphia firefighters Alvin Jenkins (left) and Eric Siegfried, who rescued an injured worker from a gas tank last year, will be honored.
Philadelphia firefighters Alvin Jenkins (left) and Eric Siegfried, who rescued an injured worker from a gas tank last year, will be honored. (MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer)
Posted: September 19, 2013

PHILADELPHIA - In accident in a storage tank in Southwest Philadelphia - a man had fallen 60 feet onto a platform on top of 100,000 gallons of gasoline and was semiconscious - prompted an emergency response from his fellow workers.

For firefighters Alvin Jenkins and Eric Siegfried, it was another day at work requiring a high-angle rescue.

After descending into the tank and making a rope harness in poor visibility, the veteran firefighters secured the injured worker, allowing him to be lifted out of the tank and taken to a hospital.

That rescue occurred April 15, 2012, at the Plains Terminal tank farm at 6850 Essington Ave.

Fast-forward 17 months, and Jenkins and Siegfried find themselves among a group of more than four dozen emergency responders who will be honored with valor awards Wednesday night at the National Liberty Museum in Old City.

"I appreciate it, but then, on the other hand, I'm thinking it's not necessary," said Jenkins, a 19-year veteran of Squad 47 off Grays Ferry Avenue. "This is what I'm trained for. This is what I get paid for."

Squad mate Siegfried, 41, a 10-year veteran, added: "It's nice to be recognized for something you do, but that's what we're here for. I did my job."

"The tank scenario, that was the first time I've done that at the tank farm," said Jenkins, 47. "Saving someone's life, we've done that quite a few times."

The job was dangerous: Jenkins went into a dark tank that held gasoline fumes, and could not use a flashlight for fear it would spark an explosion.

Whether serving as a firefighter or police officer, these type of risks come with the territory.

Capt. Michael Goodwin died April 6 fighting a three-alarm fire in a Queen Village fabric store. Firefighter Daniel Sweeney and Lt. Robert Neary died fighting an industrial blaze in Kensington on April 9, 2012. Officer Ed Davies is recovering after being shot Aug. 13 following a car stop in Feltonville.

For Jenkins and Siegfried, they were doing a job that boiled down to a life-and-death rescue mission that took great training, Jenkins said.

Jenkins said he never learned the worker's name, only that he was hospitalized for a week.

Gwen Borowsky, CEO of the National Liberty Museum, said the annual valor awards give recognition to heroic deeds and also serve as inspiration to museum visitors.

She said the museum's mission is to help visitors "understand that they, too, can be like a hero, which is doing what you can to help other people."

The museum will recognize 53 emergency responders from Philadelphia and the surrounding area at its eighth annual Awards of Valor:

Philadelphia Police: Officer Cassandra Winward, Sgt. Brian King, Officer Christopher Shevlin, Officer Edward McConnell, Sgt. Rodney Linder, Officer Duane White, Officer Prior Pratt, Officer Edwin Vaughn, Officer Jorge Soto, Officer Minita Little, Officer Ian Nance, Officer Christina Mellet, Officer Vincent Perone, Officer Michele Casey, Officer Latonya Bey, Lt. John Walker, Detective Freddie Mole, Detective Vincent Parker, Detective Joseph Murray, Officer Gregory Jara, Officer Jeremy Duff, Officer Travis Wolfe, Officer John Scott

Bucks County Sheriff's Office: Deputy James Mitchell

Upper Southampton Police: Officer Albert Costantini, Officer Fred Williamson

Camden County Police: Officer Edward Gonzalez, Sgt. Christopher Frucci, Officer Dennis Convery, Officer Michael Harper

Upper Darby Police: Lt. James Reif, Officer Eric Colella, Officer Kevin O'Gara, Officer Robert Wheatley, Officer Samuel Ziviello, Officer Stephen Cristinzio

Philadelphia Fire Department: Firefighter Joseph Bosak, Firefighter Joseph Russell; Paramedic Jeffrey Schurr, Paramedic Patrick Carey; Firefighters Brandon Mlodzinski and Ted Mlodzinski; Firefighter Alvin Jenkins, Firefighter Eric Siegfried

Westville Fire Department: Chief Eric Farley

Bristol Borough Fire Department: Deputy Fire Chief Brian Russell, Lt. Eric Ziegelhofer, Capt. James Burnett, Firefighter James Kuzma

Norristown Fire Department: Assistant Fire Chief David Keeley, Firefighter Robert Myers

Philadelphia Prison System: Sgt. Michael Davis, Sgt. Annette Hubert

Contact Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman at or follow on Twitter @sabdurr.

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