We are pleased to announce the newest honorees in our Firehouse® Magazine Heroism & Community Service Awards program and take pride in highlighting the bravery of these outstanding individuals. We recognize the judges: Chief Mark McLees of the Syracuse, NY, Fire Department; Chief Edward...
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Demontreux continued his search to the rear of the apartment. He discovered a man hanging out a rear window to escape the heat. Since there were no fire escapes or portable ladders, the only way out was the window he came in. Through high heat and zero visibility, he led the man back through the apartment. Halfway through, the apartment exploded into flames, engulfing both men and setting them ablaze. Demontreux, now on fire, made the decision that he would not leave the man behind. Through the fully involved room, he stayed with the man and continued to assist him to the window. Demontreux pushed the man out the window onto the aerial ladder before diving onto the ladder. Engine 219 in the street opened their line on the two men to extinguish the flames. The man received burns to more than 50% of his body. Demontreux suffered first- and second-degree burns to his face and neck. All of his personal protective equipment (PPE) was condemned. (See Close Calls, January and February 2011.)
Captain Matthew Davidson Athens Borough Fire Department Bradford County, PA Company 6
At 11:17 P.M. on Dec. 17, 2010, Bradford County 911 received several calls for a working fire. Fire was reported showing from the second floor with people possibly inside. Captain Davidson was the first to arrive on the scene. He confirmed the working fire and entrapment. A passerby and the landlord raised a ladder to the porch roof. Black smoke and flames were pushing from a window onto the porch roof. Davidson entered another window after he and a police officer broke out another window. Davidson entered the room and found a 2-year-old boy and handed him out to others on the roof. He went back in and found a 6-year-old girl and handed her out to others on the roof. 12 Truck 1 arrived and a handline was handed to Captain Davidson. He then knocked down the flames. Further searches were conducted for an adult female believed to still be in the apartment. After several searches, it was determined the woman was not home. The children were admitted for smoke inhalation and released the next day.
Firefighter/Paramedic Jason Durbin Chicago, IL, Fire Department Truck 2
On Sunday, Dec. 13, 2010, Firefighter/Paramedic Durbin was off duty working for a private ambulance company. While driving, he saw smoke coming from the upper floors of a high-rise building. Upon his arrival, fire was blowing out of the top floors of a 29-story residential building. He asked his partner to call 911 and he left instructions in the lobby that no elevators were to be used. He ran upstairs and on the 18th floor he encountered a man and his son who said the fire was in their apartment on the 28th floor and someone was trapped inside. He felt the door to the hallway on the fire floor. Visibility was close to zero. Thick, black smoke was two feet from the floor. He took a breath and made a dash to the fire apartment. Part way down the hallway, he tripped over what only could have been a body. He took hold and reversed direction. In the stairway, he found a woman barely conscious and with labored breathing. He picked up the woman and carried her down to the street. He met firefighters on the stairs making their way upstairs. He gave them a quick layout and described the conditions.
Firefighter/EMT Salvatore Mastrodomenico Chicago, IL, Fire Department Engine 126
On July 24, 2010 at 7:30 A.M., units responded to a residential fire. Reports of civilians trapped brought additional apparatus. The first engine stretched lines to the basement and a primary search of the basement was started. The fire was free burning near the exit and giving off heavy, black smoke. Heat was building due to a lack of ventilation. Because of recent heavy rains, there was six inches of water in the basement as well as floor-to-ceiling clutter. Lieutenant Munoz and Mastrodomenico made the decision to crawl past the fire and start the search. He soon located an elderly man in the front bedroom. Due to the rising temperatures and acrid smoke, the elderly man was unconscious and in critical condition lying in the water. The two firefighters teamed up and carried the victim from the basement to a waiting EMS crew.
Lieutenant Edward J. Gonzalez FDNY Ladder Company 161
On Aug. 27, 2010 at 2:38 A.M., Ladder 161 responded to a report of a structural fire. On arrival, heavy fire was visible in a top-floor window in a six-story, non-fireproof multiple dwelling. On the fifth floor, the smoke began to bank down. A quick look up to the sixth floor revealed a dense smoke condition. The forcible entry team reached and gained control of the apartment door. The members knew the hose stretch of 13 lengths was going to be delayed. With zero visibility and high heat, the team split up and began their search. Firefighter Shelse found a victim. Lieutenant Gonzalez and Firefighter Norris worked their way back to the victim, who reported two more victims. Norris was directed to hold back the expanding fire with the extinguisher. Gonzalez pressed deeper into the apartment. He crawled past the body of fire into the rear bedroom. Knowing his primary means of egress may be cut off, his determination paid off as he located the second victim, age 80, on the floor. He began dragging the victim assisted by Firefighter Shelse, who came to his aid bringing the victim into the hallway.