Firefighters, trooper honored for saving Apollo bridge jumper
Three firefighters and a state trooper received valor awards on Friday for their efforts to save a man who jumped from the Apollo bridge.
Firefighters Randy Dunmire, Mark Fairman and John Uskuraitis with Vandergrift Volunteer Fire Department No. 1 and State Trooper Anthony Vaccaro were recognized at the Pennsylvania Firemen's Association convention in Hastings, Cambria County.
The firefighters also are members of the Armstrong County Water Rescue Team.
On May 25, the men rescued Joshua Pastrnak, 30, who escaped from an ambulance and jumped from the Leonard C. Miller Bridge in Apollo.
The ambulance stopped when Pastrnak began trying to escape as they crossed the bridge. The man climbed onto a ledge and threatened to jump. After 90 minutes of talking with police, Pastrnak jumped backward from the ledge, flipping in the air and landing on his side from a fall of about 55 feet.
The four rescuers were waiting in a raft about 25 feet downriver and pulled him out.
“They essentially saved a life by being where they were at the time and using their skills,” said Tom Schaeffer, chief of Vandergrift No. 1, who nominated the men for the award. “It's not easy to maneuver a boat like that. They had to maintain a steady position under the bridge for about an hour.”
Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 5 plead guilty to charges of luring, beating man at Harrison gas station
- Return of Verona’s Doughboy statue delayed
- Apollo residents urged to ‘take back community’
- New Kensington-Arnold confronts ‘frightening’ budget situation
- Valley choir ‘shows’ off at Mills mall
- Harmar to consider offer to drill under township land
- Injunction postpones building demolition in Tarentum
- Bed and breakfast proposed at former Liperote Mansion in South Buffalo Township
- Generous Leechburg boy receives Christmas surprise from secret Santa
- Valley High School teacher’s aide charged with having sex with student
- Tarentum councilman resigns to take new position