Cumberland County (PA) Firefighter Posthumously Given Medal of Heroism

He was killed March 9, 2020, by the weight of a porch that collapsed on him.

Zahriah Balentine


As the song “Red Wagon” by Jaycie Ward began to play, a helmet known to the Cumberland County Fire Department was displayed at the front on the memorial plaque.

The helmet embodies the bravery and commitment firefighters in the county are known for and also represents the ultimate sacrifice firefighters make to keep the community safe every day.

Earlier: Firefighter, Occupant Dead in Pennsylvania House Fire

Cumberland County Fire Lt. Jerome S. Guise was posthumously given the Medal of Heroism during the annual memorial service Thursday evening. The Fire Chiefs and Firefighters Association presented the medal to his family.

Guise, 34, was killed March 9, 2020, by the weight of a porch that collapsed on him, leaving him unable to breathe due to smoke inhalation and thermal burns while battling a house fire in Monroe Township.

The fire department also included a plaque to honor Guise by adding his name to the Fire and EMS Tribute Wall at the Cumberland County Public Safety Building in Carlisle.

“Jerome will forever be remembered by his fellow brothers and sisters of the fire service,” fire company Chief Tim Yingst said. “This was the first line of duty death in the 125-year history of the Citizen’s Fire Company in Cumberland County. Number one and very first for Cumberland County.”

After speakers gave their eulogies, attendees heard a recording of a woman talking about the significance of the three bells for firefighter memorial ceremonies. Then, three single strikes from a bell rang to uphold the tradition for firefighters and their selfless duties to protect citizens.

The recorded audio said in the past that firefighters started their day shift off to the ring of a bell. Throughout the day and night each alarm was sounded by the bell, which summoned the firefighters to bravely place their lives in jeopardy for the community.

The three sounds represent honor and respect for those who have died on the line of duty.

One strike represents those who have answered their final call. The second strike represents families of the fallen who need support. Lastly, the third bell represents the dedication of the fire service to continue to carry on their legacy.

When the ceremony ended, guests were invited inside for small refreshments and fellowship.

Guise began his career in the fire service as a volunteer with Citizen’s Fire Company No. 1, Mt. Holly Springs in August 2003 and was a live-in at Station 2, “The Village Station,” in Boiling Springs. He left behind three children: daughter Kayla and sons Wyatt and Zaden.

The Carlisle native worked at DHL in the receiving department for over 10 years. He was a 17-year member of Citizens Fire Company No. 1 of Mt. in Holly Springs.

Randy Guise talked about his son being a fourth-generation firefighter and how the memorial service was heartwarming.

“It started with my grandfather, my father, both my brothers, myself, and along with my son. We’ve been down this road before,” Randy said. “Unfortunately, we never been through this but, overall, today is appreciated. I’m extremely proud of him and it was a great ceremony.”

READ MORE: Pennsylvania cities, including Harrisburg, top the list of best places to retire in the U.S

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