General President Edward Kelly presented Broward County, FL Local 4321 fire fighter Bryan Aparicio with the General President’s Citation for Extraordinary Heroism during the IAFF Executive Board meeting in Hollywood, Florida. The citation acknowledges the extreme risk Aparicio took to save his girlfriend from a fiery crash.
“Bryan’s swift and selfless actions no doubt saved Su’s life,” said Kelly. “The courage, valor, and love he showed in rescuing his girlfriend represent the absolute best of our profession.”
In October 2022, Aparicio and his girlfriend, Su Hninyi, were traveling in an Uber to a planned vacation when the vehicle in front of them collided with a tanker truck, causing the truck to flip over and catch fire. Their Uber driver swerved to avoid the flaming tanker, hitting a concrete barrier wall.
Aparicio escaped through the back window as the car burst into flames. When he realized Hninyi was not behind him, he quickly returned to the vehicle – entering the blaze to save her.
“I just thought, ‘I can’t let her die,’” he said. “Because of the flames and damage to the car, the only way I could get her out was to pull her through the back window.”
“The members of Local 4321, especially the crew at Station 10 where he is assigned, are proud to call him brother,” said Local 4321 President Steve Bertuccio. “Bryan is one of our newer fire fighters, but he is already proving he’s willing to go above and beyond to protect and save lives.”
“Recovery has been tough,” said Aparicio, “but we are thankful for all the help and support the IAFF and my brother and sister fire fighters have given to us through this.”
Aparicio sustained second and third-degree burns to the face, hands, left arm, and ankle. Hninyi had third-degree burns to her hands, legs, and feet. Both had to spend several days in the hospital and required surgeries to help heal the burn injuries.
Hninyi is back to work as a personal trainer. Aparicio returned to work on light duty in January and full duty in February.
“Your bravery is an example,” Kelly said while honoring Aparicio. “We will remember it every time we honor our brothers and sisters in the future with a General President’s Citation.”