Firehouse Heroism and Community Service Awards: Top Winners

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 (ret.) of the...


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10. Firefighter Robert F. Andersen, FDNY, Rescue 3

11. Firefighter Patrick J. Hickey, FDNY, Rescue 3

12. Firefighter Kevin McCabe, FDNY, Engine 48

On April 14, 2012, at 1:14 P.M., units were being dispatched to a fire involving a three-story wood-frame multiple-dwelling housing a ground-floor church and apartments above. Heavy fire and smoke had extended to exposure two, a two-story brownstone. Firefighter Robert F. Andersen had been sent to monitor conditions with a thermal imaging camera. He found fire in the walls, and then a heavy piece of ceiling fell on Engine 48. He surmised that fire was traveling in this plenum.

While operating with Firefighter Patrick J. Hickey and Engine 48 in zero visibility and increasing heat, the second and third floors suddenly collapsed. Andersen was knocked off his feet and his thermal imaging camera and flashlight were ripped from him. Hickey was knocked to his knees, partially buried. Andersen crawled over and uncovered Hickey. Firefighter Kevin McCabe and the others heard several Maydays. Engine 48 opened their line to cool the heavy fire now burning.

Firefighter Dodwell, who had the nozzle on the second floor, rode the collapse down when the burning roof and second floor fell. He transmitted that he was trapped, burning, running out of air and needed help. Andersen followed the screams and saw Dodwell’s hand. McCabe saw his boot sticking out of debris about five feet above the ground. McCabe frantically used his hands to remove debris. With the building being unstable and fire burning all around them, Andersen worked on one side and Hickey on another as McCabe removed debris. Andersen grabbed Dodwell’s mask strap and turned him. Hickey reached Andersen’s position and lifted him out of the void.

 

13. Firefighter Michael J. Shepherd

FDNY, Squad 41

On March 22, 2012, at 7:54 A.M., Squad 41 responded to a building collapse with people trapped. Before the Squad’s arrival Battalion 16 confirmed the collapse of a four-story building under demolition. Upon arrival, three workers were reported trapped. One was in the process of being removed, the next was still trapped and the third was unaccounted for. Firefighter Michael J. Shepherd entered a void created by a lean-to collapse. Only the mouth and nose were exposed of the victim. The rest of his body was buried and pinned under collapsed, but intact brick wall sections, concrete and metal. Shepherd crawled and shored as he went using wood and other loose debris to quickly stabilize the one ton piece of concrete above him. Wedges, 4x4s and struts were requested. Shepherd continued on and took the victim's vitals. With the help of other firefighters, the intact brick wall was kept from sliding, enabling the wall to be broken apart and the worker freed.

 

14. Lieutenant John Maes

North Metro, CO, Fire Rescue District, Crew 63

On Feb. 23, 2012 at 4:19 A.M., units responded to a report of domestic violence in Northglenn, CO. A suspect had been assaulting his wife when he re-entered his home. Firefighters noticed a flash of fire through a front window and requested a full-structure response. The assault victim called police and was screaming that her husband was going to kill her children inside the house. Police officers trying to get inside the front door encountered a barricaded front door and entry door from the garage and they started to break down the door.

Firefighters stretched two handlines inside. They encountered a large body of fire on the stairs to the second floor. They were told two children and a male suspect were upstairs. Apparently, various accelerants were spilled all over the stairs and an outdoor grill was placed at the base of the stairs. Firefighters extinguished the main body of fire, then preformed a primary search on the second floor, where there was heavy smoke. Firefighter Hamilton located an unconscious adult victim on a bed in the master bedroom. A lighter was still in his hand and a weapon was nearby. Firefighter Brereton located an unconscious 18-month-old child with an obstructed airway caused by smoke inhalation. He cleared the child’s airway and removed the child to paramedics.