On April 21, the New Jersey State Firefighters' Mutual Benevolent Association Valor Awards Banquet was held at the Pines Manor in Edison. Three members of the Montclair Fire Department received Valor Awards for their rescue efforts during the fatal fire on Carlton Drive in Montclair on January 14, 2011.
Lt. Carl Zimmermann of Caldwell, firefighter John Benson of Cedar Grove, and firefighter Steve Carney of Montclair all were honored.
On January 14, 2011 at 2:34 p.m., the firefighters were dispatched to 8 Carlton Drive for a reported working house fire with people trapped inside. Zimmermann and Carney arrived on the scene only to face a one-story house fully engulfed in fire and heavy smoke.
They entered the house, battling heat, fire, and heavy smoke, and worked their way to a back bedroom. Benson entered the home through a rear window and met up with Zimmermann and Carney and a rescue effort began.
The trapped occupant was found in a back room and—through a team effort—was removed from the home. Once the three men had transported the person to the front lawn, paramedics took over and took her to St. Joseph's Hospital in Paterson, where she was later pronounced dead.