Lockport Township Fire District honors Joliet firefighter

Joliet Fire Chief Jeff Carey, Lockport Fire Chief John O'Connor, Joliet Firefighter/Paramedic Dominic Minnito, and Joliet Deputy Fire Chief John Stachelski at the Lockport Fire District Awards Banquet on April 12.

Lockport — The Lockport Township Fire Protection District honored a Joliet firefighter and paramedic with its Lockport Fire District Award for Exemplary Action during its annual awards banquet April 12 at Romeoville’s Mistwood Golf Course.

The award is given each year to “citizens or other individuals who have performed an act of unusual character requiring initiative or ability worthy of special recognition, or any other outstanding acts or achievements,” according to a release from the fire district.

Firefighter Dominic Minnito was given the award this year in recognition of his off-duty actions pulling victims from a burning vehicle. Minnito’s response saved lives and was done without orders or access to protective equipment.

Minnito’s rescue took place on the afternoon of Nov. 11, 2023, when two vehicles were involved in a head-on collision at the intersection of Gaylord Road and Burbank Street in Crest Hill.

Lockport Fire Company #2 was called to the scene and was informed that one of the vehicles was on fire with passengers trapped inside. By the time the Lockport team arrived, led by Lt. William O’Connor, Minnito was already on the scene and informed them that all the passengers were out of the vehicles and that two of them were ALS patients.

After giving his report, Minnito left the scene. It was not until afterward that O’Connor was informed that Minnito had been the one to extract them from the vehicles without any protective gear.

“Firefighter Minnito, while off-duty, disregarded his own safety in order to save the life of a stranger,” Lockport Fire Chief John O’Connor said while presenting the award. “In addition to the rescue, Firefighter Minnito accurately triaged the patients prior to the arrival of Lockport companies. Firefighter Minnito’s actions are a credit to himself and the Joliet Fire Department.”