For his actions one night last fall, Derek Daves received Prince George's County Fire Department's Silver Medal of Valor at the 35th annual Prince George's County Public Safety Valor Awards Ceremony held in Greenbelt.
The story: On the evening of Friday, November 4, 2011, while on his way home after leaving Branchville Volunteer Fire Department, where he has been a volunteer for 25 years, Volunteer Firefighter John "Derek" Daves witnessed a horrific accident on John Hanson Highway in Landover.
He arrived on the scene just after the accident occurred. It involved two vehicles; one of which was on fire, with two small children trapped in the backseat of the burning vehicle, crying.
Without any protective firefighting gear, Daves immediately ran to the burning car and made several attempts to rescue the two small children by opening the door or breaking out the window. However, the intensity of the fire, combined with the thick black toxic smoke and extreme heat, forced him to retreat without being able to make the rescue.
The two children perished in the fire. Firefighter Daves received burns to his hands, he was treated on the scene by paramedics.
"Hearing the cries of the two children inside the burning car will be indelibly etched in my mind for life" stated Daves.
The members of the Branchville Volunteer Fire Company and Rescue Squad proudly salute the valiant efforts made by one of their own, Firefighter Derek Daves.