Taylor firefighters honored for heroism

Firefighters who put their lives on the line to pull a man from a burning house fire have been recognized for their heroics by city officials.

On behalf of the city, Mayor Cameron G. Priebe recently presented certificates of appreciation to Battalion Chief Ron McNamee, Captain Glenn Ross and Fire Medics Rick Beaudoin, Bill Dudek, Ron Evina, Ron Howard, Charles Krzciuk, Shannon Threlkeld and Rob Vandelinder.

The honor came after the firefighters’ response to an early morning November 13 house fire in the 23300 block of Koths. Two brothers were living in the home. One escaped with minor injuries. The other was badly burned before being rescued and remains hospitalized.

Firefighters were summed to the scene at about 2:55 a.m. A caller said that her son lived in the burning house and may be inside.

Following are details of the incident, according to Fire Chief Vincent Fedel:

With the Fire Engine and the rescue unit from the Main Midtown Fire Station already on a rescue call in the 9200 block of Sylvia, Firefighter Rob Lankton dispatched the units from Fire Station 2 on Ecorse Road as well as Fire Station 3 on Eureka Road. During their response, it was determined that the units from the main station were not needed on Sylvia and were then able to respond to the Koths address.

Battalion Chief Ron McNamee was the first responder from the Fire Department on scene. One of the two brothers living in the house approached him and stated that he escaped but his brother was still inside. Faced with a free burning fire, McNamee established command and determined what resources were needed to not only combat the fire, but attempt a search and rescue. He gave a brief description of the situation to the responding units and then ordered them to continue to the scene priority 1.

Upon arrival, Firefighters Rick Beaudoin and Rob Vandelinder advanced a hose line into the house while Captain Glenn Ross and Firefighters Ron Howard and Charles Krzciuk began a search and rescue for the missing man. Once located, they immediately removed the man from the house and transferred him to another crew of Firefighters Ron Evina, Shannon Threlkeld and Bill Dudek, who initiated advanced life support procedures prior to transporting him to the hospital. From the time the man was removed from the fire until they were on the road to the hospital, only n minutes had elapsed.

“By nature of their training and working within the protocols that are prescribed by the Wayne County Medical Control Authority, our responders are taught to evaluate which facility is best suited to treat various emergency conditions,” Fedel said. “Given the nature of the man’s wounds, thermal burns and smoke inhalation, the responders chose the most appropriate facility. In the nine minutes prior to leaving for the hospital, these paramedics initiated oxygen therapy, completed a full survey of his wounds, started two IVs, approximated the total percentage and degree of the burns, dressed his burns and checked all of his vital signs. This information was then transmitted to the hospital staff by radio.

“The man was then transported to Detroit Receiving Hospital and was in their emergency room 16 minutes later. Everything I’ve just described was going on while the remaining firefighters were fighting the fire. In addition, the brother that had escaped from the house was also transported to Heritage Hospital by another of our advanced life support rescue units, where he was treated for smoke inhalation and released.”

Chief Fedel said shortly after this fire was brought under control, four of the same responding units from this fire were dispatched to the report of another house fire that was quickly extinguished.

“Our firefighters are cross trained for both firefighting and rendering the highest level of pre-hospital care as paramedics,” Fedel said. “I am pleased to report that none of the firefighters were injured during this fire.

“Our firefighters have trained for this type of emergency from their first day in the Fire Academy. The firefighters that have been named so far this evening could not have accomplished this rescue if the other firefighters on scene were not there to support their efforts.”

He explained the orchestrated efforts that were undertaken during the initial few minutes on scene:

“While they were going into the fire, two firefighters were cutting a hole through the roof to provide for ventilation, thus lessening the heat and toxic smoke inside,” Fedel said. “Another firefighter was shutting off the gas supply and the electricity to the house. At the same time, others were outside hooking a supply hose up to the nearest fire hydrant, which provided a constant water supply to assist in combating the fire.

“These are just some of the support activities that happen to make a rescue possible. What may seem like chaos to a bystander is actually a systematic approach to dealing with these types of emergencies.

“Although they take many calculated risks throughout their careers, the firefighters involved in this rescue put themselves in harm’s way to perform this rescue and deserve our recognition. Please join me in thanking them.”

In addition to the honor from the city, the firefighters also received a standing ovation from those in attendance at the City Council meeting.

Taylor Mayor Cameron G. Priebe (left), Battalion Chief Ron McNamee, Fire Medic Bill Dudek, Fire Medic Ron Evina, Fire Medic Shannon Threlkeld, Captain Glenn Ross, Fire Medic Charles Krzciuk, Fire Medic Rick Beaudoin, Fire Medic Ron Howard, Fire Chief Vincent Fedel and Deputy Chief Ed Sierota. Not in the photo was Fire Medic Rob Vandelinder.