The firefighters, members of North Branch Fire Co., had responded to the fire on Magnolia Drive in the early hours of March 4, where they joined other firefighters who had responded to an initial report of smoke in the three-story building.
Hennessey, Zangrillo and Milton were dispatched to search the most smoke-filled of the units, and discovered a major kitchen fire—which Milton began spraying to extinguish while Hennessey and Zangrillo searched the condo for any occupants.
They soon found one: a 68-year-old woman who had suffered serious burns to her face and hands before barricading herself in a bathroom. She was unconscious at the time they found her, but breathing on her own—the firefighters quickly got her out of the building and called for a medivac helicopter to take her to the burn center.
She was flown to The Burn Center at St. Barnabas, in Livingston, by NJ State Police, where she was treated and released two months later.
Thursday, the center hosted its 26th annual Valor Awards at Mayfair Farms, in West Orange, to honor firefighters, police and health care professionals for heroic endeavors on and off the line of duty. The awards are presented to those selected by a committee of peers, after being nominated by their respective departments—50 others were honored at this year's event.
Hennessey, Milton and Zangrillo are all still active with North Branch Fire Co., however, Zangrillo has since become a police officer and will soon be graduating from the Police Academy.