Police Officers of the Month, March 2003

On March 9, 2003, Police Officer Schmidt ran through heavy smoke and flames in a burning West Islip home to save a collapsed firefighter.

Police Officer Richard Schmidt, Suffolk County 3rd Pct., rushed into a home after he saw that West Islip Fire Chief Henry Epp, who had collapsed in the home’s kitchen while fighting the fire, needed help. The fire was raging at the home on W. 4th St., when police and fire officials arrived at about 8 p.m. Police said Epp entered the home to search for anyone trapped in the blaze and he was overcome bY heavy smoke and collapsed.

P.O. Schmidt became concerned when the fire started getting out of control and Epp didn’t come out.

Some of the flames were coming out the kitchen door and were already blowing out the front door and windows. P.O. Schmidt called out to Epp several times and there was no response. He then looked in the kitchen door and saw Epp on the kitchen floor, face down. He was trying to crawl on his own, but wasn’t moving too fast. P.O. Schmidt then crawled in and pulled Fire Fighter Epp out, saving him from further injury, and possibly saving Chief Epp’s life.

Due to his heroic actions and total disregard for his own safety, the Long Island Shields are proud to present to P.O. Schmidt of the Suffolk County Police Department, the Police Officer of the Month Award.