Firefighter Saves Long Island Police Officer in Car Accident
Firefighter Philip Scarfi of Engine 235 said he always stops to help victims of vehicle accidents, but don’t expect him to like being called a hero for doing it.
He pulled a Nassau County police officer from an early morning vehicle accident on the Long Island Expressway on May 18.
“I appreciate all the attention but it’s not about me,” said Firefighter Scarfi on May 19. “I was just in the right place at the right time.”
Firefighter Scarfi, a 20-year veteran of the FDNY, was traveling westbound at 5:30 a.m., on his way to his detail at the Fire Safety Education Unit at FDNY Headquarters, when he witnessed the accident on the shoulder of the eastbound side of the expressway.
Nassau County Police Officer Kenneth Baribault had pulled an SUV to the shoulder and was sitting in his police vehicle when another car slammed into his squad car.
Firefighter Scarfi grabbed his first aid kit and rushed to the officer’s aid, running across six lanes of traffic.
He used the police radio in the squad car to call for help, saying “I’m a New York City firefighter reporting an officer down.”
This, Lt. John Cullen from Engine 235 said “was a good move. It saved precious time, probably several minutes.”
Firefighter Scarfi and another bystander pulled Officer Baribault from the wreckage by the shoulders, making sure to support his head and neck.
Quickly the firefighter, who is a former paramedic and police officer, assessed that the victim was not breathing, but had a pulse. So he began rescue breathing until medical help arrived.
The officer remains in critical condition at Nassau University Medical Center.
Firefighter Scarfi said was just “paying it forward” from an accident his family experienced in 2000, when a bystander pulled the victims through the car windows.
“I’m not the hero,” he said. “The police officer is the hero for putting himself in harms way. Keep Kenny, his family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.”