Vacca honors hero firefighters

The three firefighters were honored by Councilman Jimmy Vacca on Monday, November 28. Pictured are (l-r) firefighter Ronny Fuentes, firefigher John Hessler, Vacca, and firefighter Chris Magnotta.
Photo by Patrick Rocchio

Three hero firefighters from Engine 90 and Ladder 41 were honored for going above and beyond the call of duty in catching a man charged in the mugging of a 19-year-old woman.

Firefighters Chris Magnotta, John Hessler and Ronny Funetes stopped and held Jonathan Paulino, 21, who had allegedly mugged the woman and threw her to the ground on Saturday, November 27 at 8:40 p.m.

The firefighters were leaving a call on Waring Avenue when they saw the woman on the ground and Paulino running away. They chased Paulino and apprehended him after he turned off Boston Road and onto Holland Avenue, Magnotta said.

Councilman Jimmy Vacca was on hand on Monday, November 28 to present citations of merit to the firefighters in front of the companies’ firehouse on White Plains Road.

“This is an example of New York City’s Bravest going above and beyond the call of duty,” Vacca said. “They again showed their commitment to the community, and not just by fighting fires. The people of Pelham Parkway are very grateful.”

The firefighters believed that they were in the right place at the right time to catch the alleged, Magnotta said.

“Anyone in this firehouse would have done the same thing,” Hessler said.

Deputy Inspector Kevin Nicholson of the 49th Precinct was also on hand to thank the firefighters during the ceremony.

Paulino lives in Norwood, Nicholson said. He was charged with robbery, grand larceny, petit criminal possession of a stolen property and robbery, according to the complaint report. Bail was set at $2,500 cash or $5,000 bond, according to the DA’s office.

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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