An “Award of Valor” was presented to Tafton Fire Chief Mike Miller, February 6, for his heroic actions saving a resident from a burning house last November.

PALMYRA TWP. (Pike) - An “Award of Valor” was presented to Tafton Fire Chief Mike Miller, February 6, for his heroic actions saving a resident from a burning house last November.

The plaque was given during the Palmyra Township Supervisors’ meeting, by Tafton Fire Company Lieutenant Al Siebold. He said this is one of the highest awards available in the fire service.

“We have one resident who is still with us, thanks to Mike,” Siebold said.

The fire occurred November 6, 2018 at 1:50 p.m. Tafton was called out to a reported structure fire on Baniff Lane in Tanglwood North Community Association. Chief Miller arrived first and observed heavy fire from one side of the single family house. Heavy smoke was emanating from all sides.

The Chief heard a man yelling from inside the dwelling. The occupant was attempting to escape through locked and blocked sliding glass doors. Chief Miller was able to get in, and extricated the man, only to see the resident run back in to try and rescue a pet.

The occupant had been told to stay out of the building but he spoke no English.

With conditions inside the structure deteriorating, Chief Miller went back in and rescued the man a second time. This time portions of the victim’s clothing had caught on fire. The man was turned over to the Tafton EMS for evaluation.

Mutual aid fire companies arrived, and with their help, the fire was extinguished.

“That was done in the best tradition of the fire service,” Siebold said. “It may happen only once in your lifetime, and you may never get a chance.” He said the award was meant to be sure Chief Miller and the whole fire department would never forget his actions.

In addition, each of the nine Fire and EMS members who participated in a CPR tag team was awarded a plaque. They assisted in administering CPR to seven cardiac arrest patients in the past year. Four of the patients survived.

376 fire, 1002 EMS calls last year

Prior to the award presentation,Tafton Fire Company (Co. 37) President Gary Shepherd gave his monthly report to the township. This practice began since the township’s 2019 budget was adopted n December, containing a newly imposed one-mill fire tax.

He said they have someone members coming on board at the next fire company meeting. Their new ambulance has been in service since the spring.  A new fire truck is on order and should be delivered in November 2019.

Chief Miller thanked the township for all their support and thanked the township maintenance foreman, Brian Mathews, for assistance in caring for the roads.

He reported that during 2018, Tafton responded to 376 fire calls and 1,002 EMS calls. Concerning the seven cardiac patients, four who survived, Miller commented, “Statistically, this is much higher than average. We train hard and this is the reason for it.”

In the first five weeks of 2019, they have had 39 fire calls, six which were structure fires. “I am proud to say, all of them were saved homes, where it was kept into one or two rooms,” he said. Tafton has already had 98 ambulance calls.

Tafton Fire Company has its own Facebook page. The station may be contacted at 570-226-4273 (non-emergency calls). Co. 37 marks its 70th anniversary in 2019.