Townsend honored as Firefighter of Year by Oneida County Fire Chiefs Association

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Rome Fire Lt. Brian Townsend was named this week as the Firefighter of the Year by the Oneida County Fire Chiefs Association.

Townsend, a 15-year veteran of the department, was honored for his rescue efforts in a boat collision on Fourth Lake in Herkimer County in September 2020.

Townsend received his award at the Association’s clam bake in Verona on Thursday.

“Lt. Brian Townsend’s actions that day, without question, played an important role in keeping the scene as orderly as possible and helped save the lives of the injured parties,” said Rome Fire Chief Thomas Iacovissi when he nominated Townsend.

Townsend’s “selfless actions that day serve to remind us all of the positive impact first-responders have on all communities.”

Chief Iacovissi added, “We’re proud of him.”

Authorities said two boats collided on Fourth Lake in Herkimer County at about 8 p.m. Sept. 12, 2020. Authorities said a 22-year-old man crashed his ski boat into a pontoon boat, which had five people on board, including two young children. Four people suffered critical injuries, including broken bones.

According to Chief Iacovissi, Townsend was off-duty with his family at a nearby camp when he was made aware of the nearby crash. Townsend rushed to the scene and was one of the first to arrive, Iacovissi stated. Townsend began triage and treatment of the injured people, and was there to manage the scene so that Town of Webb police officers could focus on other crucial tasks.

“It is without question Brian’s actions made sure wounds were treated correctly, and lives were saved because of it,” said Webb Police Chief Ronald W. Johnston.

“Not only was Brian an asset to the people treating the injured, but also to the juvenile who he comforted while being treated for a serious leg injury. Brian remained calm and composed during a chaotic scene in which many involved will never forget.”

Iacovissi and Johnston said Townsend stayed in contact with Webb Police after the crash, and he visited the injured in the hospital.

One of the victims died from his injuries two months later.

The 22-year-old was charged with boating while intoxicated and vehicular manslaughter, among other charges. The case remains ongoing in Herkimer County Court.

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