Governor Awards Long Beach Firefighter Charles Hakopian Medal of Valor

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Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. awarded the Medal of Valor

Long Beach Firefighter Charles Hakopian

On Wednesday September 14, 2011, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. awarded the Medal of Valor to Long Beach Firefighter Charles Hakopian, who risked his life rushing into a burning building to rescue a trapped 2-year-old boy who had stopped breathing due to smoke inhalation.

“Firefighter Charles Hakopian exemplifies the bravery, professionalism and commitment to serving our community that is inherent in our Fire Department, “ Mayor Bob Foster said. “Firefighter Hakopian’s selfless action saved a little boy’s life that night.”

Firefighter Hakopian was one of 13 Public Safety Employees who received the Medal of Valor, the highest honor that the State of California bestows upon its public servants, during a ceremony in Sacramento with Attorney General Kamala D. Harris.

“Charles represents the high caliber of men and women we have working for the Long Beach Fire Department,” said Chief Alan Patalano. “I take great pride knowing he responded above and beyond the call of duty, upholding the most sacred principle of this honorable profession in risking his own life to try to save another.”

On December 6, 2010, Firefighter Hakopian and his fellow crewmembers responded to a residential structure fire, where bystanders informed them that a 2-year-old boy was trapped inside. Without hesitation Hakopian entered the home, went upstairs and then fell through the floor that had been weakened by the fire, to his elbows.

Firefighter Hakopian continued to a bedroom where he found the little boy unconscious on the floor in respiratory arrest. He picked up the boy and took him downstairs to waiting Paramedics, who resuscitated the boy on the way to the hospital.

“I am very honored to receive the award and fortunate to work with such a strong group of individuals. Each member of our department who was involved in the incident deserves recognition and credit in the rescue that took place. We all worked together, which led to a very positive outcome. We are all very happy that Justin is fully recovered and doing well,” said Firefighter Hakopian.

Firefighter Hakopian joined the Long Beach Fire Department on August 28, 2006. Thanks to his valiant efforts that night, the little boy is healthy today.

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