Firefighters honored for actions

February 05, 2013
  • Firefighter-paramedics Bryan Kistler, center, and Joel Whipp, right, receive the Lifesaving Award.
Firefighter-paramedics Bryan Kistler, center, and… (Photo by Richard…)

Several Huntington Beach firefighters were honored at an award ceremony Jan. 31 for a variety of actions including pulling people from burning buildings, saving a cat's life and controlling a trauma scene on a highway after a family vacation.

The following information was provided by Battalion Chief Jeff Lopez:



Fire Capt. Darrin Witt received the Medal of Bravery for his work at a townhouse fire. Witt responded to a fire on July 1 in the downtown area while on a fireworks suppression patrol with a police detective.

Bystanders told the men there was someone inside the building. There was heavy fire and smoke coming from the structure.

Witt entered the structure without aid of protective clothing or emergency breathing apparatus.

Witt said he felt extreme heat while going up the stairs and proceeded on his stomach. Halfway up he met a man trying to crawl down the stairs. Witt grabbed him and assisted him down the stairs, As they neared the front door, the man broke loose and moved toward the back garage. Witt pursued the man, overpowered him and forcibly pulled him away from the fire and out of the building.


Witt suffered second-degree burns on his right hand and smoke inhalation.

After exiting the townhouse Witt and the police officer were told there was someone in the adjacent apartment which was also on fire. Together, the men entered that building but found no one inside.



Bryan Kistler and Joel Whipp were honored with the Life Saving award after pulling a young man from a house fire on Alabama Street.

Engine 45 responded to the fire on Jan. 29, 2012, and were told an occupant's son was still inside.

Firefighter paramedics Kistler and Whipp swept the building and in the second floor bedroom found a young man who was under the covers in a fetal position on the top bunk bed.

Firefighters said the man resisted help and grabbed onto the bed. The fire fighters had to pull him from the bed, downstairs and out of the home. The bedroom was soon engulfed in flames.



Fire Capt. Greg Funderburk received a Meritorious Service Award for saving a cat's life.

Along with Engine 46, Funderburk responded to a mobile home fire from which the residents had escaped but a dog and cat had not. The dog was found and evacuated, but the cat, Silky Baby, was found not breathing.

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