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Firefighter Honored For Going Above and Beyond

  • Calvert County
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CHESAPEAKE BEACH, Maryland – North Beach Volunteer Firefighter Danny Morrison was honored at a socially-distanced ceremony for his heroic actions during and after a fatal fire in Chesapeake Beach.

He received the Maryland State Fireman's Association’s Colburn Cup. The award is presented to a first responder for an outstanding act of heroism. Normally, awards are handed out during the MSFA’s annual convention. Since the convention was canceled due to COVID-19, the presentation happened at Morrison’s home firehouse in Chesapeake Beach.

Doug Alexander, Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Maryland State Fireman's Association said Morrison went above and beyond both at the scene of the fire and afterward.

presenting award

Alexander (in blue polo) presenting award to Morrison.

Deadly Blaze

The fire broke out on the afternoon of April 3, 2019. Morrison was on his way to the North Beach firehouse when he passed the fire on Gordon Stinnett Avenue. An entire row of townhomes was on fire.

Alexander said one of the townhomes was fully engulfed in flames and high winds were spreading the fire rapidly. Morrison stopped his vehicle and notified the firehouse of the severity of the situation and a second alarm was sounded.

Since Morrison had a radio and turnout gear in his vehicle, he was ready to go when the first fire engine arrived. Morrison and a partner took a hose into a townhome that was approximately 75% involved in flames to search for residents. It was the partner’s very first working fire.

While the two were inside the home, Doug Alexander said the place ‘lit up.’ He explained they experienced a ‘flashover’ which means the contents of the townhome reached ignition temperature and floor began to soften. Morrison decided it was time to get out and made sure his less-experienced partner got out of the building first. The partner had to jump through a window. Morrison fell through the weakened floor.

Fellow firefighters were preparing to attempt a rescue, but Morrison managed to self-extricate himself from the hole and make his way across the weakened floor to a hole where the door had once been. Firefighters spotted his helmet and were able to save him from the fire.

Sharing His Story To Save Others

Tragically, two residents of the complex died in the fire and several firefighters were injured. But that’s not where Morrison's heroism stopped.

Alexander said, “He shared his story to let others know that properly used equipment helped minimized his burns. This guy was willing to talk about his injuries and to talk about what went right and what went wrong. Obviously, he did the right thing or he wouldn't have survived. What makes it so above and beyond, is he did his best on the scene but afterward he taught younger firefighters what to do. That’s more and more important if you want to survive.”

Morrison wasn’t the only SOMD firefighter honored this year by the Maryland State Fireman's Association. Also recognized with awards from the organization were:

  • Francis Raley from the Ridge VFD received the Smith N. Stathem, Jr., P.P., Memorial Safety Award
  • Jeb G. Hayden from the 7th District VFD was honored with the Past President C. Oscar Baker Rookie of the Year award
  • Anthony ‘Tony’ Norris from the Hollywood VFD was chosen Firefighter of the Year.

All photos taken by Howard Kelly.

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