POMPANO BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Several first responders and a good Samaritan received high honors after they jumped into action when a Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue helicopter crashed into a Pompano Beach apartment building last year.
The group of heroes were recognized on Friday for their bravery on a somber day for first responders in Broward County.
“It was actually a very surreal day. It’s something that happens once in a career, really very sad,” said Pompano Beach Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Matthew Parent.
PBFR Battalion 24 received the department’s Company of the Year award Friday in recognition for their actions when the helicopter came crashing down on Aug. 8.
Dramatic video showed the helicopter as it went into a tailspin. The chopper broke in half and fell on top of an apartment building.
That’s when the heroic firefighters came into the picture. They rushed to the scene of the wreck.
“All of our brothers and sisters from our department responded extremely quickly,” said Parent.
The crash destroyed two apartments and caused a massive fire.
“We were able to get lines pulled, get the fire out very quickly, compared to what it could have turned into,” said Parent. “Aside from everything that we did to put the fire out, more importantly, tragically we lost one of our BSO brothers.”
Veteran paramedic Terryson Jackson was killed in the crash.
Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony posthumously promoted him to battalion chief within the fire rescue department.
Also killed in the crash was 65-year-old Lurean Wheaton, who was sitting inside her apartment.
Those firefighters, along with good Samaritan Jerriel Moreland, rushed in to help two other first responders who were in the chopper at the time of the crash.
“We just do our job. We respond to calls. This is what we do; that’s what we train to do,” said Parent. “We don’t really deserve an award for doing our job. It’s more of a heroic award on Mr. Moreland. He put a ladder up that was able to get the other two area fire rescue crew members off the roof before an explosion.
“I just tried to help some guy, that’s all,” said Moreland.
Moreland was also honored.
“Somebody had to do it. I didn’t think about it, I just reacted,” he said.
His family was on hand to support him on this big day as he was recognized as Pompano Beach Citizen of the Year.
“We appreciate what he did to help save those helicopter [crews] from BSO, and we appreciate it,” said a local official. “He didn’t have to do what he did, but he did it.”
“Just trying to be a good citizen, I guess. You know, help somebody out,” said Moreland.
Those who were honored Friday said that, although they don’t believe they deserve an award, they are moved by the recognition.
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