Melville Fire Department Third Assistant Chief Jason Bernfeld has received the “Chief of the Year” Award presented by the Suffolk County Fire Chiefs Council in recognition of his heroic lifesaving actions
The Suffolk Fire Chiefs Council bestowed the honors at Melville FD headquarters on Jan.11.
On March 12, 2018 at 6:25 am, Bernfeld was traveling on the Northern State Parkway near Round Swamp Road when he noticed the tail light of an overturned vehicle down an embankment into a tree. He immediately stopped his vehicle and found the driver was still inside, seat belted in the driver’s seat.
As Bernfeld entered the car through the broken rear window to assist the driver, he noticed the vehicle was on fire and the driver was being burned on his legs. Bernfeld returned to his vehicle and grabbed a fire extinguisher and seatbelt cutter. He was able to knock back the flames and cut the seat belt from the driver. Bernfeld then dragged the man out of the vehicle through the back window to safety. Shortly after removing the driver, the car became completely engulfed in flames.
Bernfeld joined the department as a Junior in 2000, becoming a member in 2003.
Photos, information provided by Steve Silverman