One of Brookhaven’s bravest to receive top honor for saving woman on train tracks.
Brookhaven, NY - August 10, 2018 - Proving that life and death can be decided in a matter of seconds, the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) today announced Peter DiPinto of the Brookhaven Volunteer Fire Department as 2018 “Firefighter of the Year” for his heroic actions to successfully remove a driver from her vehicle moments before it was struck by an oncoming train.
The 30-year veteran of the Brookhaven Fire Department will be honored at a ceremony on August 12 at the 146th FASNY Convention in Liverpool, NY, where he will receive a Medal of Valor for his heroics.
“Firefighter DiPinto acted quickly, decisively, and heroically, successfully saving the life of somebody who almost certainly otherwise would have perished,” said FASNY President Kenneth Pienkowski. “Firefighter DiPinto’s actions were consistent with the finest traditions of New York’s volunteer fire service. For his bravery, FASNY is honored to name Peter DiPinto the 2018 Firefighter of the Year.”
“Firefighter DiPinto demonstrated true selflessness and heroism,” said Brookhaven Fire Department Chief Giuseppe Loiacono, who submitted Firefighter DiPinto for the award.. “Firefighter DiPinto acted well above and beyond the call of duty, saving the life of a person in harm’s way. The Brookhaven Fire Department salutes his courage and is proud of his recognition by FASNY."
“I am honored to be recognized by FASNY,” said 2018 Firefighter of the Year Peter DiPinto. “It is truly humbling to stand in the footsteps of the previous firefighters of the year. I am grateful to have been in the right place at the right time, and I am so happy that Ms. Esposito was able to return to her family that night.”
DESCRIPTION OF THE RESCUE
On the night of October 10, 2017, Firefighter Peter DiPinto of the Brookhaven Fire Department was getting into bed when he heard a car crash at the intersection of Montauk Highway and Arthur Avenue. Along with his wife Laura, Firefighter DiPinto immediately jumped out of bed and into his car and raced toward the sound of the crash, wearing only pajamas and carrying a flashlight.
Upon arriving on scene, Firefighter DiPinto found a car near the tracks with the front end smashed in. As he moved to help the driver of that car, his wife shouted that there was another car stranded on the railroad tracks. He immediately moved to assist the occupants of this vehicle.
The car on the tracks had sustained heavy damage to its driver-side door, and its airbags were deployed. Firefighter DiPinto began to assess the condition of the driver, who was dazed and confused, when the Arthur Avenue railroad crossing bells and gates activated and a train horn sounded. DiPinto could see the Long Island Railroad train bearing down on him.
Without hesitation, Firefighter DiPinto raced to the passenger side door and yanked it open, and confirmed, despite the presence of a car seat, that the driver was the only occupant of the vehicle. As the train drew closer, unable to slow down quickly, Firefighter DiPinto grabbed the driver’s wrists and pulled her out of the car. Firefighter DiPinto and the driver then quickly ran off the tracks, hearing a tremendous noise as the incoming train demolished the stranded vehicle.
Firefighter DiPinto and his wife sheltered the two victims of the accident in their car until additional first responders arrived. The MTA police later estimated that collision between car and train occurred only five to seven seconds after Firefighter DiPinto successfully removed the victim.
Because of Firefighter DiPinto’s selfless actions, the driver was able to return home to their family.