Public Safety Blotter Articles

Civilians Honored by Pittsburgh Police for Saving Man During 2019 Storm and Flooding

Date: September 10, 2020
Incident Type: Commendation
Location: Zones 3 and 6

The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police recognized two citizens today for their bravery in rescuing a 90-year-old man during a severe thunderstorm that caused extreme flooding along Banksville Road on July 6, 2019.

On that day, several vehicles became stranded along the roadway in about three feet of water when two men, John Messina and Paul McComb, observed an elderly man trapped inside his vehicle with water up to the seat and rising rapidly.

“I remember, John took off his shoes and I thought, ‘He’s tougher than I am, he’s all business he’s going in.’”, said McComb.

Not wasting any time, the two men, who were strangers to each other at the time, waded into the waist-deep, debris-filled water in heavy rain, wind, and severe lightning to rescue the man.

The two men were able to reach the victim, lift him from his vehicle and carry him to safety, averting a tragedy.

Pittsburgh Police Commander John Fisher, who observed the two men in action that day, awarded them each with the Bureau's Citation of Honor and the Recognition of Excellence for their heroic efforts in saving a life.

“What I witnessed that day makes me proud to be from Pittsburgh. John Messina and Paul McComb embody the selflessness and compassion that makes the City of Pittsburgh special. I thank them and commend them for putting their own safety at risk to help a fellow Pittsburgher in need,” said Commander John Fisher.

Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich, Police Chief Scott Schubert, and Assistant Chief Linda Rosato- Barone were also on hand to thank the men for their courage and bravery that day.


John Messina (L), Paul McComb (R)

Commander John Fisher w/ John Messina

Chief Scott Schubert w/ Paul McComb

Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich




Reporting PIO:
Cara Cruz