Firefighter Dana J. Mueller received the 2017 “Firefighter of the Year” award for his courageous rescue of an unconscious child from the second floor of a burning building.
Mueller reached the child in the midst of heavy heat and smoke while the incident commander was ordering members to evacuate due to deteriorating conditions.
The child later succumbed to injuries suffered in the fire. But Mueller’s bravery and willingness to put his own life in jeopardy exemplifies the Philadelphia Fire Department’s commitment to dedication and service.
“This is a difficult story, because the outcome is what nobody would have wanted,” Commissioner Adam Thiel said. “He gave that child, he gave that family a fighting chance — and that means something.”
Mueller, who works on the “B” Platoon at Ladder 12 in North Philadelphia, said the response to the May 28 house fire was a team effort. He noted that while it was hard to accept the award under tragic circumstances, “I am proud to bring honor to the company, to the department. I’m humbled.”
The award was presented at Fireman’s Hall Museum by Commissioner Thiel and Richard Coppola, president of the Philadelphia Fire Department Historical Corp.
Mueller, a married father of three, has been a member of the department for five years. He began training as a cadet in September 2012 and graduated months later as valedictorian of Class 186. He was also first in his class in physical fitness.