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Local firefighters honored for their dedication, valor


Recognizing selfless acts of courage

The Los Angeles County Fire Department hosted its annual Valor Awards ceremony this week, honoring firefighters for acts of bravery, selflessness, and dedication to service including a local pair of firefighters working in Lancaster.

The ceremony was held at the Los Angeles County Fire Museum in Bellflower.

Honorees were recognized in the following categories: White Helmet Award, Letter of Commendation, Exemplary Service Award, Unit Citation, Certificate of Valor, and Medal of Valor.

The Medal of Valor–the department's highest award–was bestowed upon eight firefighters who were involved in three different incidents, as follows:

-- On Jan. 6, 2022, Fire Captains Andrew Olvera and Robert Weaver, and Firefighter Robert Currier, entered a Rancho Palos Verdes home engulfed in flames to rescue a fellow firefighter who was trapped inside.

-- On March 19, 2022, Firefighters Burnett Burton, Erin Mathews, and Jackson Reich worked quickly to save the lives of six patients trapped in a downed helicopter that was precariously situated on Highway 39.

-- On Nov. 9, 2022, “with seconds to spare,'' Firefighters Jonathan Barton and Mathew Smith located and rescued an elderly person who was trapped in a fast-burning Lancaster home fire.