AZ Guard Soldier receives Life Saving Award

AZ Guard Soldier receives Life Saving Award

Army Brig. Gen. William Hall and Command Sgt. Maj. Patrick Powers recognize Army Pfc. Samuel Pineda during a ceremony at the City of Peoria Fire Department, Oct 1. Pineda received a Life Saving Award from the City of Peoria and the General’s Coin for his actions while rescuing a family from a residential fire, Aug. 26. (National Guard Photo by Spc. Wes Parrell)

PEORIA, Ariz. – An Arizona National Guard Soldier who recently assisted a family from their burning home received a Life Saving Award from the City of Peoria, here Oct. 1.

In a ceremony at Peoria Fire Station #1 in front of an audience of City of Peoria and Arizona Army National Guard leadership, Fire Chief Bobby Ruiz presented Army Pfc. Samuel Pineda with the award for his actions during a residential house fire in his neighborhood, Aug. 26.

“He went above and beyond anything we would expect a citizen to do in a situation like this,” said Ruiz. “Helping his neighbor like he did was heroic. We don’t get to recognize citizens like Sam enough for their contributions to our community.”

Pineda was also recognized by Brig. Gen. William Hall, land component commander of the Arizona Army National Guard, and presented with the General’s Coin.

“What Pfc. Pineda did that day exemplified what the Arizona Army National Guard his all about,” said Hall. “He reverted back to his military training and was able to react to a stressful situation and help a family out of harm’s way.”

That afternoon Pineda, an infantryman with the 158th Infantry Battalion, returned to his residence near the 8600 block of Malapai Drive in Peoria when he saw smoke bellowing from the front of a neighbor’s home.  As he approached the residence he saw two young girls running back and forth near the front door in a panic.

Pineda immediately called 911. He saw flames growing near the front of the house so he ran to the back of the home to locate the occupants.

“As an infantryman we are trained to act calm during intense situations,” said Pineda. “I knew I had to act fast and take action. If I did not do something people could be hurt or worse.”

Shouting through a window, Pineda made contact with the people inside and directed them to the back yard, away from the flames near the front door. From atop the backyard wall, Pineda helped a teenager climb over into a neighboring yard. The father of the children handed his 6-year-old son to Pineda and he handed the child over to his older brother. Pineda then assisted the father over the back yard wall and led them to safety before first responders arrived to combat the blaze.

“I’m just glad I was in the right place at the right time,” Pineda said. “Once the police arrived I did not want to be in the way so I provided my contact information to the officer and left. I feel sad that the family’s home was damaged but happy that no one was hurt.”