From left are firefighters Greg Miller, Greg Murray, Lt. Chris Meletta and Matt Gifford. (MONTCLAIR TOWNSHIP)

Montclair Firefighters Greg Miller, Greg Murray, Matt Gifford and Lt. Chris Meletta were honored earlier this month with a 200 Club of Essex County 2020 Valor Award at Essex Fells Fire Headquarters.

The award recognizes the firefighters’ roles and actions during an incident that took place on Dec. 18, 2019, while assisting the Essex Fells Fire Department.

On that date the Essex Fells department was dispatched to a residence on a report of an overturned crane. Upon arrival, Essex Fells firefighters discovered that a large truck with an attached crane, operated by a tree service company, had overturned, with its boom fully extended, trapping one of the workers underneath the heavy truck.

Essex Fells firefighters immediately determined that this was a life-threatening situation — the victim was pinned underneath the weight of the truck. In addition, the truck was laying awkwardly on its side on an embankment and was at risk of further collapse, possibly crushing the trapped worker.

The incident commander requested mutual aid help from neighboring fire departments, as well as the West Essex First Aid Squad. Additional technical rescue resources were also activated, including the Urban Search & Rescue team.

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“Without hesitation firefighters jumped into action and bravely placed themselves underneath the unstable truck before any shoring was done and began to treat the victim at the same time as they were trying to extricate him,” a press released distributed by Montclair Township states.

While crews operating underneath the crane dug out the victim, additional efforts were being made to stabilize the truck, preventing it from crushing the rescue crews and the victim.

As these specialized units arrived, firefighters worked to further shore up the truck with more sophisticated equipment. Meanwhile crews continued to try to rescue the victim, while remaining at risk of being crushed themselves.

“Firefighters from these multiple departments worked together seamlessly under extreme conditions,” the press release states. “After nearly an hour they were able to finally extricate the victim.”

After medical personnel further stabilized the victim, he was rushed to the hospital for treatment. He suffered only minor injuries and was released a few days later.