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Firefighters, Police Officer Receive Recognition For Saving Young Girl’s Life

Gino Geruntino, WIBX

About two weeks ago, four-year-old Halima Haji’s lifeless body was carried from her family’s Adrean Terrace apartment. Today, she is alive and well seeing the people who saved her life.

Halima Haji’s family members were only a few of the many people in attendance at tonight’s Common Council meeting, where seven first responders were honored for saving the young girl’s life on February 22nd, when a fire broke out at her family’s home.

Councilman Joe Marino presented firefighters Jeff Baranowski, Brian Bova, Jessica Caulkins, Fred DeCarlo, Captain Scott Ingersoll, Marc Manno, Dominick Meyers and Police Officer Kieth Phillips with awards for their part in saving the little girl. She was revived at the scene with advanced CPR and rushed to the hospital where emergency personnel were standing by.

“People thanked me for putting this together,” Marino said. “All I did was write a proclamation. These guys legitimately saved a life. This is the reason we pay for the services that we pay for, and to have something like this happen here today… it was an honor for me, it really was.”

Gino Geruntino, WIBX

Brian Bova is a paramedic firefighter for the City of Utica’s Fire Department, and performed CPR on the young girl once she had been carried out of the building. He says he was just doing his job.

“We are very happy with the outcome, but we don’t require any recognition for the job that we are paid to do,” Bova said. “We do it with pride and we continue our training education every day to make sure we can provide the utmost care for the citizens of the City of Utica.”

Firefighter Fred DeCarlo was the one who found Halima Haji and carried her body out of the burning home.

“It’s my job, I’m just glad the outcome was good,” DeCarlo said. “There’s other guys that were there that I feel probably should have credit, too. I know they can’t get everybody in here, but the whole shift was strong that day and we just did a good job.”

After the last person received his award, the crowd rose to its feet and gave the group a standing ovation. Halima’s family then moved to the front of the chambers, where they greeted each person. Each recipient bent down to shake the youngster’s hand.

But, it was Fire Chief Russ Brooks who may have summed up the evening in one word, calling the little girl’s quick recovery and mere presence a “miracle.”

City Raises Money For Haji Family

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