Two Williamsport firefighters receive Medal of Valor

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WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Two local firefighters are being recognized for their heroic work.

Last year they saved three people from a burning building, earning them one of the highest awards in the United States.

Williamsport’s Bureau of Fire engineer John McCann and Lieutenant Kenneth Smith have received the Medal of Valor. It’s an award only for public safety officers who demonstrate immense bravery.

“It was a perfect storm per se, that we were working that night and everything went as well as it did,” said Smith.

That night, being February 2020 during an apartment building fire on the 300 block of Park Avenue in Williamsport. Both McCain and Smith helped saved three people who were trapped inside, but they say it’s all part of the job.

“You get amped up but it’s just what we do. So we have to control our emotions and we just went to work,” said Smith.

McCann and Smith were nominated for the award by their fellow firefighters. An honor that they say came as a pleasant surprise.

“I was surprised yeah, I mean it’s kind of an honor. We’re nominated by our own peers. We have a committee now which we never heard of before,” said McCann.

“This job in general is gratifying. Helping others is what all of us strive to do,” said Smith.

But they couldn’t have helped save those residents without the help from their entire crew.

“The worst that could’ve happened, we would’ve been stuck in the apartment and we would’ve had to stay in there with them until we could’ve found another way out or the guys got the fire out. But the guys did a really good job on the engine that night and got the fire out fast,” said McCann.

Both McCann and Smith say every day they can make it to and from the job while managing to help others, is a blessing.

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