THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Niagara's Dunlap Finalist for First Responder for 2019
Issue Date: November 21, 2019
The ity of Niagara Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator and Assistant Volunteer Fire Chief Dave Dunlap was recently honored as a 2019 First Responder of the Year finalist. Wisconsin State Rep. Jeff Mursau presented Dunlap with a "Citation by the State of Wisconsin", as well as a state flag.
Pictured from left are State Rep.Jeff Mursau, Niagara City Council members Dan Decker and Lynn Burke, Waste Water Treatment Plant employee and Fire Chief Shawn Brown, award recipient Dave Dunlap, Niagara City Council President Larry Kuchinski and Mayor George Bousley.
Mursau in his nomination of Dunlap said, "City of Niagara Mayor George Bousley and I are honored to nominate David (Dave) Dunlap as First Responder of the Year. Dave is a 27 year veteran of the city's volunteer fire department, and was recently appointed as Assistant Chief. He is also the treatment plant operator for the city.
On Wednesday, May 29, 2019, Dave and his work partner Shawn Brown, who is also Fire Chief, were returning from a treatment plant operator class in Green Bay. As they were driving north on Highway 141, they noticed a vehicle upside down in a retention pond at the County Highway A exit in Lena. A person was entering the water on foot. Dave said to his partner Shawn, "You know what we need to do." They pulled their truck over and ran to the pond. This person was now standing in the pond, and he said that he witnessed the car go into the water, and that nobody had emerged from the vehicle. Without hesitation, Dave removed his shirt and shoes and plunged into the chilly, murky water. He reached the car but was unable to pull the driver out. The first person initially in the water was unsteady, so Brown assisted him from the pond and tended to him on shore. Other travelers stopped to assist, and together they were able to roll the vehicle upright and cut the seatbelt to remove the driver. The driver was pulled to the shore, and Shawn pulled the driver onto the grass.
At this point, the police and rescue squad arrived, so Dave and Shawn returned to their vehicle. Sadly, a news report after the incident stated that the driver was taken to a hospital and passed away.
Neither Dave nor Shawn asked for, or received recognition. A mention of the incident on social media simply stated that "three selfless people assisted by jumping in the water." The incident was brought to our attention in a casual manner, "just another day in the life a firefighter."
Although this event did not have a happy ending, we are nonetheless proud of both Dave and Shawn. They are a fine representation of our city with their actions both on and off duty," Mursau concluded.