Lieutenant colonel of Petrópolis fire department honored with Personality of the Year award

October 23, 2023

In recognition of her exceptional service during the tragic natural disaster in February 2022, lieutenant colonel Elisângela de Matos of the RJ Fire Department was awarded the Petrópolis City Council’s Personality of the Year Award.

Petrópolis tragedy: A commendable response

Lieutenant colonel Elisângela de Matos played a crucial role in the aftermath of the worst natural disaster that hit Petrópolis, also known as the Imperial City.

As the commander of the fire station during that period, she was the first woman to lead the 15th GBM.

She coordinated efforts in response to the devastating event which resulted in the tragic loss of over 240 lives in the municipality.

The response involved an average of 500 military personnel daily, with specialized teams for collapsed structures and the assistance of sniffer dogs.

Elisângela’s reflections on the disaster

“The rains of 2022 joined the list of the country’s biggest climate tragedies,” stated* Elisângela. “In response, the corporation’s Command activated the State Government’s Contingency Plan, joining forces to work continuously, 24 hours a day, to save as many lives as possible.

“This tragedy is a milestone in my career and my story.

“I would like to thank you for the tribute on behalf of each military firefighter who reinforced the troops of the 15th GBM in this major operation for the benefit of the Petrópolis population.”

Enhancing safety in Petrópolis

With a significant history of rain-related events, Petrópolis will be receiving a new headquarters for the Dom Pedro II Military Firefighter Academy from the State Government by 2024.

This facility aims to provide robust support for rescue and relief operations in the municipality and throughout the Mountain Region.

“It will be a state-of-the-art structure, with modern facilities designed to offer an excellent place for training cadets,” remarked* the Secretary of State for Civil Defense and general commander of CBMERJ, Colonel Leandro Monteiro.

Included in these facilities are a multi-sports court, semi-Olympic swimming pool, accommodation, auditorium, training tower, and space for land rescue instruction. The entire investment is estimated around R$40 million.

FSJA Comment

The awarding of the Petrópolis City Council’s Personality of the Year Award to lieutenant colonel Elisângela de Matos reflects the vital role fire departments play in disaster management.

Recognizing such dedication and leadership not only honors individuals but also highlights the significance of well-coordinated and compassionate responses in times of crisis.

With the upcoming state-of-the-art facility for the Dom Pedro II Military Firefighter Academy in Petrópolis, it emphasizes the ongoing commitment to enhancing disaster preparedness and response capabilities in the region.


The Military Fire Brigade of the State of Rio de Janeiro (CBMERJ) is a vital organization dedicated to firefighting, rescue, and civil defense operations in the Rio de Janeiro state.

With a history marked by dedication and service, CBMERJ continues its mission of saving lives and ensuring the safety of the region’s residents.

*Please note that this article may have been translated using automated software; unintended translation errors may be present.

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