Local Bravest Receive Medals

Honored For Risking Lives To Save Others

Three firemen who work in Queens were honored with awards for bravery in the line of duty at the 145th FDNY Medal Day Ceremony, held at the 69th Regiment Armory in Manhattan last Wednesday, June 4.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, outgoing Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano and Chief of Department Edward Kilduff are pictured with honorees at last week’s Fire Department Medal Day ceremony.

The firemen awarded were; Firefighter Edwin Sanchez, of Rescue Company 4 in Woodside, Lt. George L. Torres, also of Rescue Company 4 and Capt. Paul Miller, of Engine Company 286 in Glendale. Each was recognized for their bravery and dedication to the people of New York City by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano at the annual ceremony.

Sanchez received the Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia Medal for bravery he displayed while responding to a fire on Oct. 7, 2013, department officials said. In the early morning hours, Sanchez’ unit, Rescue 4, along with Engine 292 were dispatched to a report of a structure fire. Upon their arrival, Rescue 4 members began the duties of the firstarriving ladder company, a press release reported.

Assessing the situation, members were confronted with a fire on the first floor of a two-story wood-frame house, officials said. Reportedly, the fire was confined to the two front rooms and vestibule entrance to the house.

Civilians standing nearby reportedly told Rescue 4 members that there were people trapped inside. After consulting with their commanding officer, Lt. Charles Marshall, Sanchez and Firefighter Rod Ford were directed to seek access to the second floor of the building by the interior stairs.

Marshall advised Battalion 46 Chief Joseph Cooney of this latest attempt to rescue the trapped victims, which were now confirmed, the Fire Department reported.

In high heat and with low visibility, Ford and Sanchez made their way to the second floor. After crawling approximately 25 feet, Sanchez reportedly located an unconscious woman lying on the floor while Ford continued to search for victims. Sanchez then transmitted a code over his radio and began to remove the unconscious victim to the street, officials stated.

After bringing her outside safely, Sanchez and a colleague assessed the victim and began working to resuscitate the woman, department sources said. The woman was transported by ambulance to the hospital where she later died with family members at her side.

“Firefighter Sanchez displayed not only bravery, but the ability to adjust and adapt to changing conditions and responsibilities,” the chief officers stated. “Sanchez disregarded the danger to himself presented by these conditions and performed in a manner reflecting the highest ideas of the FDNY.”

Torres was awarded the Hispanic Society Memorial Medal for rescuing a man from a fire on the Elmhurst and Jackson Heights border, Sept. 12, 2013, the Fire Department said. Upon entering the building, Torres found a man lying facedown in water FDNY officials said. Upon arrival, Rescue 4 found other fire companies already on scene of the two-story house. The fire was reportedly contained to the first floor of the home.

Torres was able to rescue the victim, he was given CPR, was transported to the hospital and survived, officials reported.

Cooney lauded Torres’ bravery and stated, “that Lieutenant Torres went past an uncontrolled fire to effect the rescue of a man near death. He performed an act of bravery and showed quick initiative in carrying and dragging the man to safety.”

Capt. Paul A. Miller was honored with the Uniformed Fire Officers Association Medal for actions he took during a run on the morning of Jan 25, 2013, Fire Department officials said. At 1:36 a.m. Engine 286 reportedly responded to a fire in Glendale. Upon arrival Capt. Miller ordered the nozzle team to begin stretching a hose-line into the second floor of the building.

Entering the building, Miller was informed by exiting residents that their elderly father was still on the second floor. Miller used his mask and an oxygen tank to reach the second floor and rescue the unconscious man. Miller, with the help of several colleagues was able to bring the man safely outside. The victim reportedly survived the ordeal,

“Thanks to Captain Miller’s brave actions, including passing fire twice, a man in dire circumstances was rescued. Thanks to his efforts and the quick thinking of Engine 286 and Ladder 135, the victim survived,” fire officials stated.

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