Warwick firefighter awarded for heroic actions that saved 3 lives
A special ceremony was held Tuesday in Warwick to honor the heroism of a firefighter who saved three people from a fiery, head-on car crash.
Warwick Fire Department Captain and Port Authority Police Officer Kevin Colomba was headed home from work in New York City last October when he saw the aftermath of a collision in the Town of Tuxedo. Officials say he recognized that three victims were in perilous situations, trapped in their vehicles and in need of help.
“He didn’t hesitate. He didn’t think of himself,” Sen. James Skoufis says.
Skoufis awarded Colomba with the New York State Senate Liberty Medal at the Warwick Fire Department on Church Street. The ceremony was held in front of a crowd of the firefighter’s peers and loved ones. The medal is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a civilian by the state Senate.
“The car was on fire,” recalls Colomba. “I took the window with my window punch tool, cut the airbag out, cut the seatbelt.”
Colomba is credited with pulling all three victims to safety before the cars burst into flames.
“Three of our neighbors are still with us and their families this holiday season thanks to his selflessness,” Skoufis says.
Colomba’s fire chief, Mike Contaxis, says the Warwick native has been an asset to the department since he joined as a volunteer in 2006.
“Kevin, you’re an amazing individual. We can’t thank you enough for your bravery,” Contaxis says.
Despite the recognition, Colomba is humble.
“I don’t consider myself a hero or anybody special,” says Colomba. “I’m just doing what I had to do.”
Colomba says other people at the scene on Route 17A also helped, including an off-duty nurse.
He says the victims have reached out individually to say thank you.