Montgomery native receives National Firemark Award

A 2005 Montgomery Area High School graduate earlier this year was recognized for showing heroism and bravery in the line of duty.

Lt. Jake Miller, a volunteer firefighter with Lampeter Fire Co. in Lancaster County, and his co-worker, Capt. Adam Ebersole, received the Liberty Mutual Firemark Award for Heroism for their reactions to a fire in 2013. The award is given by Liberty Mutual Insurance.

Miller is the son of Parvin and Sharon Miller, of Allenwood. He graduated in 2008 from Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in Lancaster.

As a child, he spent time at the firehouse where his father was a volunteer.

“It is something that I’ve always been passionate about,” Miller said.

One of the things that Miller said he enjoys about being a firefighter is that even though he witnesses people during their worst times, he is able to help out and give back to the community. He enjoys the close-knit feeling that working as a first responder gives him.

“The fire house is my family down here,” Miller said.

According to a news release from Liberty Mutual Insurance, on Jan. 26, 2013, Miller and Ebersole were assisting at the scene of a car crash when they learned about a burning house nearby. They rushed to the home and entered the structure.

After entering the house, they dropped to the ground to avoid the thick black smoke. As they crawled along the floor, their vision was seriously impaired but their hearing still was intact. Continuing forward, the firefighters began to hear moaning. They followed the sound to a room where they saw a young adult male amidst the flames and smoke. As they carried the man toward a window, they also spotted his unconscious girlfriend.

After struggling to clear the window, Ebersole was forced to exit the house due to extreme exhaustion and the intense heat.

Miller lowered the man out of the window and into the arms of another firefighter. He then turned his attention to the girlfriend, whom he also lowered out the window to safety.

The victims were rushed to a nearby burn center, where they were treated for severe burns. After numerous surgeries, they both were released from the hospital.

The sister of the girlfriend was the one who nominated Miller and Ebersole for the award.

“Jake and I are both humbled that our peers thought we were so deserving of the Liberty Mutual Firemark Award,” Ebersole said. “We never thought about not going in. As Harry S. Truman once said, ‘It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.’ “

“We don’t do it for the recognition or for the awards,” Miller added.

Liberty Mutual awarded the Lampeter Fire Co. with a $10,000 grant, which will used for refurbishing their fire engine with updated equipment, including new warning lights and a new water tank.