The West Point Fire Department’s A Shift received a Silver Medal of Valor on Tuesday. The team is composed of Lt. Roderick Palmer, Firefighter/EMT Dennis Walls, Firefighter/EMT Didar Suleman, Firefighter Medic Chris Coogle and Firefighter/Medic Brandon Ashford.
“This team of honorees was dispatched to the scene where a tree had fallen on a house with up to eight people trapped inside,” said Eric Blackman, Chamber board chairman. “Upon arrival, occupants were observed climbing down the tree to escape and others were climbing out of windows. Family members told the fire personnel that a 7-month-old baby was still in the house”
The firefighters gathered more details from the family, made a quick assessment and determined personnel should enter the unstable structure to locate the missing baby.
“Tragically, the baby had not survived the accident,” Blackman said. “This required the crew to work with the West Point Police Department and the Troup County Coroner’s Office to secure the scene for investigative purposes as well as provide traumatic stress care to members of the family.”
Blackman noted the firefighters were awarded “for their display of extreme bravery, compassion and courage.”
The Silver Medal of Valor is awarded in situations when a public safety officer knowingly exposes himself to great personal risk in the performance of an official act.