Lehigh Valley

Allentown Fire Deptartment honors firefighter of the year

The department issued awards and citations during Fire Prevention Month.

Allentown Fire Deptartment honors firefighter of the year

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A nine-year veteran of the Allentown Fire Department has been named the city's firefighter of the year.

Peter McAllister was honored as the department's firefighter of the year during a ceremony Monday at the Scottish Rite Cathedral as part of Fire Prevention Month. The department also awarded the Alfred W. Fischl Award and certificates of merit, years of service awards and unit citations.

McAllister joined the fire department in 2007, graduating from the fire academy in May of that year. He joined he U.S. Army after high school graduation and remains an active member of the Army National Guard.

McAllister has served as the driver and a pipeman for Engine 9 and holds certifications as an EMT and a hazardous materials technician, joining the hazmat team in 2012, according to a news release.

Department officials said McAllister was responsible for identifying and evaluating new technology to provide better and more efficient service. Fire Chief Lee Laubach called McAllister "an overall powerful individual who is always willing to step forward and improve any aspect of the fire department."

The Alfred W. Fischl Fire Service Award was awarded to Battalion Chief William Held for his "consistent and dedicated work ethic" over the course of his 20-year career. Held served nine years as a firefighter, one year as a fire specialist, four years as a lieutenant, two years as a captain and three years as a battalion chief.

The department cited his role during the 2011 gas explosion at 13th and Allen streets as an example of his leadership skills.

Capt. Jim Klutz received the Chief's Award for his work in fostering the department's image through activities and events in the community. Kutz started the nonprofit group Hounds on Working Leashes or HOWL to raise money funds for equipment and supports the everyday needs of emergency service K9s.

Held, Assistant Chief Chris Kiskeravage, Capt. Mark Kresge and Lt. Charles Haydt received 20-year service awards, and the department recognized firefighter Kevin Frantz for 25 years of service.

The department awarded unit citations to 73 members for their work during the January 2016 blizzard; 26 members who fought a fire at the Islamic Education Center in September; and 26 members who fought a fire at 224 S. Carlisle St.

Certificates of merit were also awarded to:

  • Firefighter Zachary Shepard for securing a hostile dog who was protecting a deceased homeowner. Unit citations were also awarded to Lt. James Boyle and firefighter Rodney Bolton.
  • Firefighter Keith Pierce for his rescue of a puppy that fell into an old 21-foot deep well. Unit Citations in the incident were also awarded to Battalion Capt. Phillip Atiyeh, Capt. James Kutz, Lts. Jack Bryant and Craig McGinnis and firefighters Timothy Bruce, Jason Campanella, Jeremy Nyemscek, Jeffrey Tomczak and Peter Zondlo.
  • Deputy Chief James Wehr, Assistant Chief Christopher Kiskeravage, Capt. John Christopher, Lts. Theodore Maguire and James Saylor and firefighters Steven Foulke and Jason Tatum for their role in the Jan. 2 recovery of the body of a 5-year-old autistic boy from the Lehigh Canal.

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