The last full memory Michael Bivona Jr. has of driving on Silvermine Road in the late afternoon of October 30 is his car being struck head on by a BMW.

On a recent night, Bivona, 18, got a chance to thank New Canaan firefighters for the slow and painstaking extrication effort to free his badly pinned body from his heavily damaged compact car and avoid inflicting further injury.

"They deserve every award they get because I'm standing here," the Stamford resident said. "They saved my life."

Bivona met the group of eight firefighters who were honored for their efforts at a ceremony earlier this month conducted by Fire Commissioner Jack Horner. Also recognized at the ceremony were a new captain and lieutenant and two new firefighters, and also honored were other community outreach efforts.

The group of five firefighters and three officers from Engine 1 and 5 who arrived at the scene of Bivona's accident at Silvermine and Clapboard Hil Ridge roads found a four-vehicle accident that had sent three of the vehicles off the road, Horner said.

The firefighters extricated another driver from a sports utility vehicle at the scene while New Canaan Volunteer Ambulance Corp. members stabilized Bivona while he was still trapped, according to an account provided by Horner.

"The Fire Commission of the town of New Canaan recognizes this unit for their exceptionally meritorious service and skill as a team in successfully extricating a motorist from his severely damaged vehicle on Silvermine Road," Horner said. "The outstanding perseverance of the team was critical in saving a life, in keeping with the finest traditions of the fire service."

The men honored for the rescue were Capt. John Raidt, Lt. Tony Ryan, Past Chief Edward Karl, and firefighters John Aniello, James Pickering, David DiPanni, Paul Wilson and Jason DeVivo.

Pickering was also honored with a Commissioner's Citation for his work since 2012 of obtaining and distributing hundreds of carbon monoxide and smoke detectors for residents of New Canaan.

"Through Jim's tireless efforts, hundreds of homes now have these new life safety devices installed at no cost to the homeowner, increasing the home safety of hundreds of our residents," Horner said.

Also sworn in during the ceremony were two new firefighters, Damien Sheerin, 30, who graduated the Connecticut Fire Academy recruit training in December 2013 and Brian Doane, 42, a former St. Louis fire captain, who joined the department in August.

Doane took the New Canaan job after his wife Jennifer, a shoe designer for Steve Madden, got a job in New York City.

"In the fire service, when you take a new job it is basically starting over," Brian Doane said. "But the group of guys at the firehouse are a really great group."

At the ceremony, two firefighters were also promoted, Lt. Duffy Sasser, a member of the department since 2005, who lives in Stamford with his wife and children, and Capt. Michael Baker, a 15-year veteran of the department.

The fire commission also recognized recently retired Deputy Fire Marshal William Dingee for 22 years of service to the town.