Press Release from the 200 Club of Morris County | March 17, 2022
On behalf of the Board and Awards Celebration Committee of The 200 Club of Morris County, we would like to offer our congratulations. The below four firefighters from the Whippany Fire Department are among a group of 35 public safety officers serving Morris County who will receive an award from our organization for their extraordinary acts of heroism during events in 2021. We proudly extend our heartfelt thanks to you for your incredible dedication and service to your community.
Meet our Meritorious Team Honorees
Whippany Fire Department
- Firefighter/EMT Ian R. Bell
- Firefighter John T. Gethins, Jr.
- Firefighter Henry Hansch, III
- Firefighter/EMT Josh J. Makowski
On the evening of September 1, 2021 during Hurricane Ida, Firefighter/EMT Ian R. Bell, Firefighter John T. Gethins, Jr., Firefighter Henry Hansch, III and Firefighter/EMT Josh J. Makowski were dispatched to a homeless encampment located behind the Morris County Mall. A woman and her dog had become trapped in her trailer due to rising floodwaters. These firefighters are part of the Whippany Fire Department’s water rescue team, and immediately called upon their specialized training by performing a water rescue.
The scene presented some unique hazards because the encampment is in a wooded area near active railroad tracks. Even in daylight on a good day, this location is difficult to access. Despite the raging storm and the challenges at the scene, these dedicated firefighters deployed their rescue boat in the dark, in flooded woods. They were able to reach the woman and successfully remove her and her dog without incident. They then returned to the flooded area to check for more people and fortunately, none were found.
This highly trained team of firefighters acted decisively and swiftly which resulted in the saving of a life, despite multiple obstacles and hazards they navigated at the scene.