Upper Darby hails ‘heroes’ who saved woman after accident

article from the delcotimes.com By Linda Reilly, Times Correspondent




UPPER DARBY >> One of the police officers who instinctively reacted and rescued a woman trapped underneath a car recalled the split-second decision three days after the accident.

The team effort involved five Upper Darby police officers and two firefighters who lifted the 2001 Toyota Camry off a woman within seconds of responding to the call of pedestrian struck by a car and trapped underneath a vehicle 8 a.m. Saturday at State Road and Harper Avenue, Drexel Hill.

“They really were heroes,” Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said. “Their actions saved her life.”

Chitwood named officers Michael DeHoratius, Rick Russel, Brian Gieder, Matt Lynch and William Redheffer and firefighters Sam Caroluzzi and Deputy Chief Peter Huf for their heroism.

“If they didn’t lift the vehicle off her chest she would have been dead,” Chitwood said.

The pedestrian, a 38-year-old woman, a resident of the 800 block of Eaton Road, was a half mile from her house when she was struck at the State Road and Harper Avenue intersection.

She was transported to Lankenau Hospital and remains in critical but improving condition, according to Chitwood.

DeHoratius, 35, a 13-year decorated veteran, previously employed with Tredyffrin Township, Chester County, and the last five years with Upper Darby Police Department, was one of the first to arrive on the scene.

“I was in the area and got there immediately,” DeHoratius said. “Two other officers (Russel and Gieder) arrived about the same time. We got there quickly, within minutes of each other. She was laying face up underneath the driver’s side frame of the car. It was resting on her chest. She was pinned between the car and the ground. We could tell she was struggling and we all looked at each other and said, ‘Let’s just lift the car and try to get her out of there.’ It was just a group decision.”

According to DeHoratius, an off-duty firefighter (Caroluzzi) was driving by at the time and stopped to help along with Deputy Chief Huf and two other officers, Lynch and Redheffer, who responded to the scene.

“I told the last two officers that arrived, ‘We’re going to lift the car and at the count of three to grab her out from under there,’” DeHoratius said. “It was a great team effort.”

According to Chitwood, the woman had apparently just left her house for a jog in the morning. Police found a filled water bottle and a Fit bit device on the ground at the scene.

“We haven’t had a chance to interview her yet due to her condition,” Chitwood said.

The driver of the vehicle involved was identified as an 86-year-old man who lives on the 900 block of Shadeland Avenue. He was on his way to church and remained at the scene.

“I don’t think he saw her,” Chitwood said. “He said he heard a thud and stopped.

“Right now it looks like a freak traffic accident. I hope and pray she survives.”



Members Attend Services for Harrisburg Lt. DeVoe

Members of our local attended the services today for Lieutenant Dennis DeVoe of the Harrisburg Fire Department who was killed in the Line of Duty last week by a drunk driver. In this news story by Harrisburg abc27 one of our retired members, Captain Mike Baker was interviewed quickly on his thoughts.



Again, we send our deepest condolences to the DeVoe family and to all of our brothers and sisters of the Harrisburg Bureau of Fire.






Remember to change the batteries in your smoke detectors

Just a reminder to all our followers, this weekend we spring forward with our clocks! Sure we lose an hours sleep but it also provides us with an opportunity to change the batteries in our smoke detectors!

If you don't know how old your smoke detectors are, it's time to replace them, the same goes for your carbon monoxide detector. Just earlier this week, a family was spared because of a working smoke detector in Upper Darby, we've been preaching it for years and will continue to...SMOKE DETECTORS SAVE LIVES!

If your a township resident and need assistance in installing or help where to place them, please feel free to contact Upper Darby Fire Headquarters at 610-734-7673, our members would be happy to come assist you!

This post was also not approved by Emil D'Alesio.


Market Frankfurt Line Collision at 69th Street Terminal

This morning shortly after 8am, 37-1 and UD-11 were dispatched to the 69th St terminal for a train accident involving 2 Market Frankford El trains.


UD-11 (Acting Chief B. Boyce) added SQ36 to the assignment. While responding, fire board advised they were receiving reports of entrapment and Rescue 26 was also added to the response.


Crews arrived on location and discovered upon initial size up that there were 3 trains involved. Crews assisted with patient care for the 3 train operators and 4th patient.


Thankfully the trains were in an area between dropping off and picking up riders so there were only 2 riders aboard. Crews preformed an initial search and secondary searches of all the train cars, inside, underside and surrounding areas to ensure there were no other civilians injured.


T-74 also responded and Deputy Chief P. Huf had Market St Command.


Also on scene we're Delaware County Paramedics, Mercy Fitzgerald Paramedics, ambulances from Radnor Fire Co., Lansdowne Fire Co., Darby Fire Co. and Narberth Ambulance.


While crews remained on scene, Llanerch, Darby, Lansdowne and Clifton Heights provided coverage for 26, 37, 36 and 74's locals.


Thanks to all companies that assisted on scene, covered the township and we'd be remiss if we didn't acknowledge SEPTA rail management, SEPTA Police, Upper Darby and Millbourne Police and Delaware County Emergency Communications and the dispatcher for the incident, Mike Galli.


As crews were clearing from the train crash, the building fire assignment was dispatched to 1600 Garrett Rd, F building. Crews from 37, 74, 36, 74, 20 and 103 responded and located an electrical room fire. Power was secured and after the fire was contained, it was turned back over to property management.

- article by:  

Firefighter/EMT Ken Collins  








Swearing in of our new Department Chief

February 1st, Mayor Thomas Micozzie has officially sworn in our new Department Fire Chief, Gary McAfee. Chief McAfee has been the acting Chief since long time Department Chief Edward Cubler retired over a year ago. Chief McAfee was promoted up from the ranks of Deputy Chief in which he spent over 15 years after transferring over from the police department. Along with serving the police force, Chief McAfee was also a volunteer firefighter for decades in Upper Darby Township before becoming a Deputy Chief. On behalf of all the members of Upper Darby Professional Firefighters, Local 2493, we congratulate you Chief. We look forward to continuing our great relationship with you. 

Also, thank you to the following for photos; Councilwoman Lisa O'Rangers Faraglia, the Upper Darby Police, and Mike McKenzie.  

Bailout Training for all 3 platoons.

Thursday, January 19th, completed bailout training for all three platoons of the Upper Darby Professional Firefighters. Each platoon had the chance to be taught by instructors from area fire departments such as Cherry Hill, Camden, and Philadelphia. 


The bailout training is a result of safety equipment that was purchased for the members to wear with their everyday turnout gear. Turnout gear usually consists of the typical fire coat, fire pants, fire boots, and helmet. Our members are fortunate enough to have bailout equipment purchased for them that includes a rope, hook, and descent device. These components make up the system that provides our firefighters with a "last chance" option should condition on a fire scene dictate a hasty escape from a building on fire with their only exit being an upper floor window.


Fire scenes are hectic and unpredictable sometimes resulting in firefighters being stuck in unfavorable situations without a normal escape route to exit the building. Numerous examples from around the country, including a famous incident in New York City in 2005, have shown that trapped firefighters may have been able to survive a situation or avoided more serious injury had they been equipped with such a bailout system. 


Over the next couple weeks, the firefighters and fire officers of Local 2493 will be issued their bailout systems which will hopefully never be needed. But, if the need arises, it is reassuring to know that the fire department administration has provided our members with the best equipment necessary to increase our chances of returning home after our shift.


- Write Up By; 

Captains Dave Gallagher and John Calamia

Captain Dave Gallagher UDFD/37 B Platoon

Captain Dave Gallagher UDFD/37 B Platoon

Captain John Calamia UDFD/26 C Platoon    

Captain John Calamia

UDFD/26 C Platoon




A link to an overview of the famous incident in the Bronx, NY;


Our Annual Kids Christmas Party

Today was our annual kids Christmas party for our members. A very special thank you to Dave and Gioia Gallagher again for setting up this event, and their little elves Nicole Calamia, Dennis Hamilton, Matt Egan, and everyone else who helped out before and after the event. Thank you also to Station 36 for letting us use their hall. Of course we can't forget the big man himself, Santa. He is a very close friend to one of our members, John Miller. So John put a phone call in to see if Santa could make a special trip to visit the children and grandchildren of our members during the party today. 

Coats for Kids - "Operation Warm" at St. Cyril's

On Tuesday December 6th our some of our members visited St. Cyril's School for "Operation Warm" to hand deliver 100 coats for kids who are in need this winter. Fire Trucks delivered the coats to the kids at the beginning at their assembly. We thank Retired Deputy Chief Tim Boyce and current members Jack Tully and Sam Caroluzzi along with the faculty of St. Cyril's for helping us put this together. It is everyones goal along with Coats for Kids that No Kid Goes Cold. 


Deputy Chief Tim Boyce to Retire

Today, after the promotional swearing in of our two officers, Deputy Chief Tim Boyce thanked the Department, the Township, and everyone he has worked with over his many decades with our Department and our local. He is retiring after this week to pursue another field in which we are positive he will be great at also. Good luck Chief, and best wishes.

Stephen Siller Tunnel2Tower Run

On Sunday September 25th, two of our members, Bill Norris and Dave Gallagher along with Rob Spitko of Norristown participated and ran in the Stephen Siller Tunnel 2 Towers race in New York City. The mission of the Foundation is to honor the sacrifice of firefighter Stephen Siller who laid down his life to save others on September 11, 2001. Great job brothers on your accomplishments. 


To find out more information check out their website at http://tunnel2towers.org/


CPR Rescue

On Wednesday, September 7th 26/B platoon was called to Dermond Ave to assist the medics with a cardiac arrest. The crew from Engine 26 and the police took turns providing CPR while the medics were giving IVs, medications, intubating, and bagging the patient. After many rounds the patient got their pulse back. While carrying the stretcher the crews continued to provide CPR so the patient didn't lose their pulse. One of our Firefighters drove the medic unit while the medics continued to monitor and give the patient treatment on the way to the hospital.


We are very happy to say that we found out that the patient is alive and is actually doing well and getting around. The daughters of the patient stopped down to Station 26 when the crew was working their last shaft to thank them, and to get a picture with them.


The medics who worked on the patient were Doug Farr, Lisa sonpkowski, and Dwan Wallace. 


(26/b platoon members Captain Gove, Firefighter Hunger, and missing from the picture from 26/b platoon is Firefighter Hamilton)