On April 15, 2016, George J. Berry, Sr., an ex-Chief, ex-Commissioner, and 60-year member of the Southold Volunteer Fire Department, received tones for a fire at his neighbor’s house. Berry knew the woman lived alone and was handicapped.

George ran next door, observed heavy smoke and tried to gain entry, but the doors were locked. He ran back home, got a pry bar, returned and forced the front door. Knowing where the woman always sat, George made entry and as he neared the woman’s chair, the room flashed over driving him to the floor. He then quickly crawled out backwards with the top of his head on fire.

Upon arrival of Southold units, George was found standing next to a tree with the top of his head still smoking. Crews made entry and pulled the woman to the doorway. She succumbed to her injuries.

George went above and beyond the normal call of duty to try to save his neighbor, risking his own life at the age of 80.

Having served over 60 years, George is still a very active member of the department.

– Fire News story and photo courtesy of Chief Peggy Killian, Southold FD