SEATTLE – On Wednesday, May 16, two Seattle firefighters will receive the Maltese Cross at the department’s Annual Awards Luncheon. The Maltese Cross is awarded to a member for meritorious actions performed under hazardous conditions that are beyond the call of duty and at great personal risk. This is the second highest award one can receive in Seattle’s fire department.
The first Maltese Cross will be awarded to Firefighter Brandon Freeland. On July 27, 2017, while on vacation in Cashmere, Washington, Firefighter Brandon Freeland saw a male struggling in the cold, swift-moving current of the Wenatchee River. Firefighter Freeland Saw the victim going underwater, and entered the fast-flowing river, without the benefit of a personal flotation device to assist him. The victim went underwater several times and was completely exhausted before Firefighter Freeland reached him. He had completed the Rescue Swimmer training a week prior, and was able to safely bring the victim through the whitewater to shore.
Firefighter Joshua Materi will receive the second Maltese Cross. On August 4, 2017, Firefighter Josh Materi was detailed to Ladder Company 10. While operating at an apartment fire on East Denny Way, Firefighter Materi learned of a victim on the third floor. He proceeded to floor three and entered the fire unit without the benefit of a hose line. He was immediately driven to his knees by fire rolling over the ceiling just inside the front door. Forcing the flames back with his pump can, Materi crawled into the room to search. Rising to his knees instantly blistered his ears, and he expended the remaining water in his pump can into the fully involved adjacent room to buy himself time to complete his search. Hearing a moan, Firefighter Materi crawled over to a pile of debris and found a person. Seizing hold of the victim, Firefighter Materi successfully rescued her.
Thank you Firefighter Freeland and Firefighter Materi for your service to the community.