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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District Chief Michael T. Chura Syracuse, NY, Fire Department District Chief Car 4A
On Aug. 11, 2010, at 5:35 P.M., District Chief Chura was off duty heading to a vacation at the New Jersey shore when he came upon a one-car motor vehicle accident. He saw an overturned vehicle about 40 feet off the road. The vehicle was on fire and he could see a person was still trapped upside down. With no tools or protective equipment, he entered the passenger compartment through the broken rear driver's-side window. He found a 61-year-old female trapped upside down by her seatbelt. Fire had breached the firewall and was rapidly spreading into the area near the driver. After eight tries, Chura released the seatbelt and placed the driver on the ceiling. At this time, Chura and two others who had arrived pulled the driver about four feet from the vehicle. The fire and smoke intensified so the patient had to be moved away several more times.
Firefighter Chris Reischl Firefighter Robert Mansfield Chicago, IL, Fire Department Squad 2
On Jan. 1, 2010 at 1:30 A.M., Squad 2 responded to a building fire. The fire was in a two-story frame with fire blowing out the front and rear windows. Firefighters Reischl and Mansfield went to the rear, where a bystander said a man was trapped. They crawled through the dense smoke and met extreme heat and zero visibility. They forced open the door, but there was an obstruction. It was the body of an unconscious adult male. They had to remove the door and were met with flashover conditions, but continued without hesitation. They were able to spin the body in the tight stairway with fire raging over their heads and carry the victim to ground level.
Firefighter Charles J. Dodenhoff FDNY Rescue Company 2
Rescue 2 responded to a fire at 175 Putnam Ave. on Aug. 30, 2010, at 4:28 A.M. Fire had complete possession of the stairway in the four-story building. There was no water in the first line. Firefighter Dodenhoff reported to the roof with the Life Saving Rope. He saw a male in a top-floor window with heavy smoke pushing behind him. Conditions caused the victim to lean farther out the window. He said he couldn't hold his position any longer and there was an unconscious woman behind him. Dodenhoff was lowered to the victim's position. The victim fell back into the apartment and Dodenhoff had to disengage from the rope and attempt to locate the victim. While Dodenhoff was bringing him to the window, the man became very agitated and attempted to climb out the window and onto the rope. Dodenhoff was able to gain control and secure him into the rope, which allowed him to be lowered to the ground. He then assisted other members of Rescue 2 in locating and removing the unconscious woman to the street.
Firefighter Robert Diaz FDNY Ladder Company 166
On Feb. 16, 2010, at 12:15 P.M., Ladder 166 responded to a fire on the 15th floor of a 17-story high-rise fireproof multiple dwelling. Firefighter Diaz forced entry into the apartment and despite high heat and zero visibility he crawled into the apartment with the protection of a hoseline and began a search. Diaz moved under the flames and heat into a bedroom. He felt a medical oxygen line to a closet, where he found a pile of clothing and pillows. Furiously digging to the bottom of the pile, he felt an arm. With the fire blocking his only means of egress, he shielded the victim with his body as he dragged the victim under the flames that were rolling overhead. He became entangled in telephone and TV cables. He quickly untangled himself and continued to drag the victim out of the apartment to the floor below.