LYNNFIELD FIREFIGHTER/PARAMEDIC Nicholas Holmes accepts the Individual Award for Meritorious Conduct from Gov. Charlie Baker during the 32nd annual Firefighter of the Year Awards ceremony at Worcester’s Mechanics Hall on Nov. 23. (Courtesy Photo)
By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — Firefighter/Paramedic Nicholas Holmes was honored during the 32nd annual Firefighter of the Year Awards ceremony at Worcester’s Mechanics Hall on Nov. 23.
Gov. Charlie Baker presented Holmes with an Individual Award for Meritorious Conduct. He was one of six firefighters who received the award.
Holmes was honored and recognized for saving a pickup driver’s life last November.
Lynnfield Rescue 2 responded to a report of a pickup truck engulfed in flames on Route 1 at 12:15 p.m. on Nov. 16, 2020. The driver had crashed into a signpost after fleeing police. After quickly assessing the situation, Holmes realized the driver was unresponsive, pinned inside the burning vehicle and needed immediate help.
Holmes used hand tools to break the pickup truck’s windows, climbed into the passenger side of the truck and placed his SCBA face piece onto the driver. Bystanders from Kelly Jeep arrived with multiple fire extinguishers to help control the fire. The driver of a passing concrete truck used an on-board water supply to help keep the fire from growing.
Fire Engines 1 and 2 arrived at the scene, and firefighters removed the patient from the pickup truck with the Jaws of Life. The patient was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital via MedFlight helicopter with multiple traumatic injuries including severe burns, but the patient was still alive.
“I am very honored to have been presented with the Individual Award for Meritorious Conduct,” said Holmes in an interview with the Villager. “I want to thank everyone who responded to the scene and provided assistance to the patient.”
Fire Chief/Emergency Management Director Glenn Davis said Holmes was incredibly brave during the incident.
“I am extremely proud of what Nicholas did,” said Davis in an interview with the Villager. “His actions exemplify what firefighters do every day. They are always willing to put themselves in harm’s way to protect others.”
Baker commended Holmes and all of the firefighters who received awards during the ceremony.
“These are people who swear on oath, and by swearing that oath, when they are on duty or off, they step up for the people that they serve, they have a chance to put their training to work on their behalf and they do it knowing they can work as hard as they possibly can to try to write the ending to the story they want, but they don’t necessarily know how it’s going to end,” said Baker. “And they do it anyway. We are lucky to have people like this on the watch on our behalf here in the commonwealth.”
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito agreed.
“The commonwealth’s firefighters demonstrate bravery and professionalism every day, and our communities are grateful for the service of these dedicated public safety professionals,” said Polito in a statement. “It’s a privilege to recognize this year’s award-winners and thank fire service personnel across the commonwealth for doing such a difficult, dangerous job so well every day.”
Public Safety and Security Secretary Terrence Reidy said in a statement that Holmes and the rest of the award-winners “personify the qualities of bravery and heroism.”
“Guided by their training, experience and instinct to help, each person we honor today used their training to serve people in their greatest hour of need,” said Ready. “On behalf of all the state’s public safety professionals, I offer them my congratulations and gratitude for their examples of excellence.”
State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey echoed Ready’s point of view.
“Firefighters have helped make Massachusetts a national leader in fire prevention strategies and one of the most fire-safe states in the country,” said Ostroskey in a statement. “But when a fire does break out and puts people in danger, Massachusetts firefighters are there to bring them to safety – no matter when, where, or what the call might be. The Firefighter of the Year awards recognize their individual and collective acts of bravery and service that truly go above and beyond the call of duty.”
WCVB EyeOpener co-anchor Doug Meehan, who lives in Lynnfield, served as the master of ceremonies during the 32nd annual Firefighter of the Year Awards ceremony.