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Mahwah trailer home fire hero, 17, gets special thanks

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

SHOUT OUT: A 17-year-old Mahwah boy who rescued a couple in their 80s from a trailer home fire – carrying the woman to safety in his arms — got a special shout out from their grandkids.

“Grandma was recently diagnosed with congestive heart failure,” Beverly Vriesema told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “She spent several days in the hospital and rehab center due to congestive heart failure and had not been home long when the fire broke out.”

It was around 12:15 a.m. Sunday, as Morgan Herndon — days short of his 18th birthday, with plans of becoming a firefighter – saw the flames from the couple’s trailer as he pulled into his driveway at the Bogert’s Ranch development.

Herndon told CLIFFVIEW PILOT that he escorted Henry Vriesema, 89, from the doorway, then ran into the burning mobile home and scooped up 87-year-old Pauline Vriesema. Dressed in her pajamas, she was searching in vain for her three cats, who died in the fire ( SEE: Aspiring firefighter saves elderly couple from Mahwah trailer home blaze ).

Herndon ( above, left ) turns 18 this Friday. On Monday, he said, he’s headed to Fire Company No. 4 in Mahwah to discuss fulfilling his dream of becoming a firefighter.

“I was just thinking about them and their safety,” he said. “I asked them both if they were all right. Then I told them, ‘Don’t worry.’ Then the police pulled up. It was later on that I felt really happy about what happened.”

Beverly and her husband, Darrell ( above ), stayed with his grandparents a few years back before moving to Ohio. Darrell, who grew up in this area, was previously known in town has having worked as an EMT volunteer with Mahwah Co. #4’s ambulance squad for several years.

“They take great pride in their volunteers – that’s for sure,” he said.

He and his wife remember Morgan, his brother and sister as “great kids.”

“We would see a lot of Morgan out skateboarding,” Beverly Vriesema said. “Anytime he would crash, we would always ask if he was OK. He would just smile, get up, brush himself off and continue on, nodding his head.”

Darrell Vriesema had to leave the ambulance squad after contracting a liver disease. His own unit had to rush him to The Valley Hospital after a particularly acute attack in February 2010, a day after the Super Bowl. He was later transferred to Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center.

“After he got released from the hospital, I remember Morgan asking me if my husband was OK,” Beverly Vriesema said. “I told him he was doing better but not out of the woods yet. It will take some time before he is fully recovered. He will need a liver transplant soon.

“Morgan expressed his concern and said he’d be thinking of us.”

“We are planning on coming out in November to visit our grandparents there and other family members and to also say a personal ‘thank you’ to Morgan for his heroic efforts,” she added.

“We are so blessed that Morgan jumped right into helping our grandparents out and glad that he wasn’t injured in doing so,” Beverly Vriesema. “He went above and beyond in doing what was right.

“Mahwah Fire Co. #4 will have a great asset added to their team if Morgan surely does decide to join.”

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