PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — For the 14th year in a row, the
National Liberty Museum honored more than a dozen police,
firefighters, and responders from the Greater Philadelphia area
that go beyond the normal job demands.
Philadelphia Firefighter Joseph Rippert is one of the 15 honored
with the Award of Valor for their bravery and compassion.
Rippert is always ready, on or off duty. He and his wife were
asleep in their home one night when they were woken up by the
sound of windows breaking and screaming nearby.
"I ran down the street," Rippert said. "I saw a young lady
outside crying. I said, 'Is this your house?' She said yes. I
said, 'Is there anybody inside?' She said, 'Yes. My boyfriend.
He never made it out.'"
That's when Rippert ran into the burning house — with no gear on
besides the clothes on his back.
"I tried to drag him out by crawling down the hallway," he said.
"I couldnt get him. He was just dead weight, too heavy to
The smoke was so heavy that he had to retreat and get fresh air.
But he went back.
"Now, I knew where he was. I knew what I had to do to get him
out. I got my legs under me and pretty much just held my breath
and drag him to the top of the steps."
On-duty firefighters made it to the scene and took over, giving
the victim CPR. He survived, thanks to Rippert's quick action.
Published in KYW Radio Release by Antonette Lee, September 20,