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  • A Tip of the Helmet

    Saw this at IACOJ, nice story to repost.

    Firefighter braved 1,000-degree heat, pulled man trapped in burning building

    BY PATRICE O'SHAUGHNESSY
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER


    The only way out was through a room that glowed orange with flames.

    The fire in the Brooklyn apartment was burning at 1,000 degrees, so hot that it cooked the usually impenetrable bunker coat Firefighter Peter Demontreux wore.

    He and the man he found trapped in a back room charged through the searing heat in lockstep and made their way to a ladder outside the third-floor window.

    Demontreux was burned; the man he rescued suffered second-degree burns over 40% of his body.

    The man survived and is expected to recover. Demontreux went back to work at Ladder 132.

    For his bravery and boldness, Demontreux is the Daily News Hero of the Month.

    "I got away with a scratch compared to him," said the 30-year-old firefighter. "I'm glad he's alive."

    Demontreux, with nearly nine years in the FDNY, responded with Ladder 132 to the arson blaze that engulfed 175 Putnam Ave. on Aug. 30.

    "I went in the front door and upstairs, and on the third floor, a man said his friend was inside," Demontreux said. "I did a search with my right hand; there was zero visibility; it was getting hotter and hotter and hotter."

    He could hear a man screaming, who was later identified as Clyde Matheny, 51.

    "He was at the window of the back bedroom. I could hear him," Demontreux said. "I went to the front window where there was an aerial ladder and told Firefighter Richard Myers of Rescue 2 that it was so hot in here, and he started to break the windows.

    "I go back in and do a search with my left hand along the wall. The smoke was lifting, and I could see the flames at ceiling level," Demontreux said.

    "I went through the kitchen to the back bedroom, and I saw the man with his upper body out the window, trying to breathe. I was looking for the fire escape, a ladder, but there was nothing out there.

    "He's at my left side; we go to the front room, and the whole thing turns orange.

    "It was like someone turned the lights on."

    He could feel his bunker coat catch fire, which FDNY officials said happens rarely.

    "I was pulling him....We tripped up once," he recalled. "I had a good lock on his arm. I wanted to get out of there - and he was coming with me.

    "We ran across the room in one motion. I could feel the burns, I could feel my face burning - it feels like people are sticking you with needles.

    "But he was in worse shape."

    They got to the front window, and Demontreux threw Matheny onto the aerial ladder. Firefighters brought Matheny down and rushed him to an ambulance - and they also put water on Demontreux.

    "The FDNY safety people said the stitch that holds the sleeve where it meets the vest popped from the heat," said Demontreux, explaining how his coat melted. "They tested my gear, and the coat was up to 1,000 degrees."

    Nine people were injured in the fire, which is still under investigation.

    Demontreux was treated at the burn center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell for first-degree burns on his face and second-degree burns behind his left shoulder.

    He returned weekly for treatment until early October, when he went back to work at the firehouse.

    Matheny is still in the burn center.

    "I went to see him and I didn't know what to expect," Demontreux said. "He was unconscious. They had just taken a breathing tube out.

    "I took a look. I saw his face; he looked relatively good. I feel bad for him."

    Demontreux said he would like to visit Matheny sometime, if he was agreeable.

    Born and raised on Staten Island, Demontreux and his wife, Gina, a teacher, are parents of four kids all under the age of 5.

    He took all the civil service tests [for the fire department] when he was 17 years old, then got a bachelor's degree in business at the College of Staten Island before joining the FDNY. He spent five years in Engine 248 before coming to Ladder 132.

    Demontreux said he went back to the scene of the fire weeks later.

    "I can't believe me and this guy fit through the narrow kitchen....Thank God there was a clear shot to the window."



    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/...#ixzz182aoXrHY

  • #2
    Originally posted by ATFDFF View Post
    The man survived and is expected to recover. Demontreux went back to work at Ladder 132.
    Well done. Someone was trapped. They are alive today because a FIREFIGHTER gave them the benefit of the doubt and pushed himself.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

    Comment


    • #3
      I am so glad that you posted this story. I got an email from thebravest.com, but the link didn't work. I was very disappointed. Awesome story, awesome save!!!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by FWDbuff View Post
        Well done. Someone was trapped. They are alive today because a FIREFIGHTER gave them the benefit of the doubt and pushed himself.
        I agree. It was a job well done. Firefighter Peter Demontreux is a credit to our profession.

        Unfortunately I cringe thinking that some on here might have written the victim off.
        I can't believe they actually pay me to do this!!!

        One friend noted yesterday that a fire officer only carries a flashlight, sometimes prompting grumbling from firefighters who have to lug tools and hoses.
        "The old saying is you never know how heavy that flashlight can become," the friend said.
        -from a tragic story posted on firefighterclosecalls.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Job well done.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by IronsMan53 View Post
            I agree. It was a job well done. Firefighter Peter Demontreux is a credit to our profession.

            Unfortunately I cringe thinking that some on here might have written the victim off.
            Might? More like would have.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally Posted by ATFDFF
              The man survived and is expected to recover. Demontreux went back to work at Ladder 132.
              Originally Posted by FWD
              Well done. Someone was trapped. They are alive today because a FIREFIGHTER gave them the benefit of the doubt and pushed himself
              .


              Originally Posted by IronsMan53
              I agree. It was a job well done. Firefighter Peter Demontreux is a credit to our profession.

              Unfortunately I cringe thinking that some on here might have written the victim off...
              A well deserved tip of the Leather.. I'm sure he will be a recipient on the FDNY's Medal day...
              ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
              Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

              Comment


              • #8
                And RIGHTLY so. Great push! AND Everybody went(or will go) home. T.C.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Another great one

                  http://www.firehouse.com/news/top-he...le-make-rescue

                  Awesome job by a guy with no gear and no backup.
                  Well done sir.


                  GRAFTON, Vt. -- Volunteer firefighter Richard Thompson knew when the tone came in Friday night that this was not going to be an ordinary fire.

                  Thompson was home, just after 5 p.m., when the call came in that Beatrice Fisher's 150-year-old farm house was ablaze.

                  Fisher's home is less than a mile from where Thompson lives, so instead of going to the Grafton Fire Station, he drove directly to the Fisher property.

                  When he got there, flames and smoke were rising out of the rear of the historic building. A granddaughter-in-law of Fisher's was shouting to the woman, who is in her 80s, and who was trapped in the burning building.

                  "Gram is in the building," the relative said. "I can hear her."

                  Thompson has been a firefighter for about a year and he knew all of the basic requirements of never entering a burning building alone and always trying to make sure you had the proper equipment.

                  Thompson might have thought about that for an instant.

                  But with the fire growing by the second, and Fisher's faltering voice coming through a shattered window, Thompson broke every rule he knew.

                  He kicked in the front door, got down on his knees and began searching for Fisher, alone.

                  Fisher's voice, a barely audible whimper at that point, could be heard from a room on the first floor.

                  The heat was intense, and smoke filled the room where Thompson went to look for Fisher.

                  Even though he disregarded the training lessons on equipment and teamwork, he did remember about doing a right-hand sweep and about staying low.

                  He crawled close to the wall, swinging his arm out to try to feel for Fisher.

                  At first, he failed to find anything.

                  He took a deep breath, and did another sweep, when, without gloves on his hand, he felt a soft brush of human skin.

                  He might have missed that feeling with gloves on.

                  "Bea. Yell at me so I can find you," Thompson shouted.

                  And from outside, Fisher's granddaughter-in-law was trying to get her to make noise.

                  Thompson could hear the windows popping from the intense heat and the dry timbers of the century-and-a-half old building cracking.

                  And, somewhere else, among the noise and havoc, he heard the soft whisper of Fisher's voice.

                  Knowing that this was probably about as long as he should be alone in the burning building, he reached out and grabbed the woman.

                  At first her body did not come easily.

                  She must have been holding on, or hooked. Thompson pulled, freeing her and he carried her out to safety.

                  By the time Thompson staggered out with Fisher in his arms, other firefighters and ambulances were just arriving.

                  He dragged her across the lawn.

                  A rescue team gave her oxygen and she quickly regained consciousness.

                  This weekend, she was being treated in a hospital for smoke inhalation, but is now expected to recover.

                  The Fisher house, one of the oldest homes in Grafton, was a total loss.

                  Firefighters occasionally go directly to the site of the fire if it is closer to the home. But they are always under strict rules to wait for help and the proper equipment.

                  Grafton Fire Chief Eric Stevens on Sunday refused to criticize his fireman's decision to go into the building to save Fisher.

                  "I would not recommend it, but I am not going to second-guess him," the chief said. "When you come upon a scene like that, you have to weigh the risk. You have to weigh your life against the life of someone else."

                  And Chief Stevens said that he did have one thing to say about Thompson's reaction.

                  "I would call him a hero," said Stevens.

                  Stevens said the Grafton department would be investigating the cause of the fire, though he said it was not suspicious.

                  In an interview Sunday, Thompson tried to downplay all the praise which he has received throughout the weekend.

                  He admits to probably "breaking every rule in the book," but said if he came upon the same scene again where a Grafton neighbor's life was threatened, he would do it all over again.

                  "When you know there is someone in there, there is a little more of, 'Oh, my God,'" said Thompson on Sunday. "I know these people. They are my neighbors. I ain't no hero. I would do the same thing again, and so would anyone else in this department. I was just doing my job."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Good work Brother!
                    "A fire department that writes off civilians faster than an express line of 6 reasons or less is not progressive, it's dangerous, because it's run by fear. Fear does not save lives, it endangers them." -- Lt. Ray McCormack FDNY

                    "Because if you don't think you're good, nobody else will." -- DC Tom Laun (ret) Syracuse

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Awesome saves by both FF's. Excellent job guys.

                      FM1
                      I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

                      Originally posted by EastKyFF
                      "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        When he got there, flames and smoke were rising out of the rear of the historic building. A granddaughter-in-law of Fisher's was shouting to the woman, who is in her 80s, and who was trapped in the burning building.

                        "Gram is in the building," the relative said. "I can hear her."


                        Viable victim.

                        Risk a lot to save a lot.

                        That's as far as I'll comment.
                        Train to fight the fires you fight.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Wow. 2 big damn heros.

                          If that doesn't tell you what this job is all about, then what does?
                          We do not rise to the occasion. We fall back to our level of training.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by LaFireEducator View Post
                            When he got there, flames and smoke were rising out of the rear of the historic building. A granddaughter-in-law of Fisher's was shouting to the woman, who is in her 80s, and who was trapped in the burning building.

                            "Gram is in the building," the relative said. "I can hear her."


                            Viable victim.

                            Risk a lot to save a lot.

                            That's as far as I'll comment.
                            No "tip of the leather" or "great job" for the Brothers who went above and beyond the call of duty?

                            Oh yeah.. can't ruin your reputation....
                            Last edited by DeputyChiefGonzo; 12-14-2010, 07:59 PM.
                            ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
                            Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by LaFireEducator View Post
                              When he got there, flames and smoke were rising out of the rear of the historic building. A granddaughter-in-law of Fisher's was shouting to the woman, who is in her 80s, and who was trapped in the burning building.

                              "Gram is in the building," the relative said. "I can hear her."


                              Viable victim.

                              Risk a lot to save a lot.

                              That's as far as I'll comment.
                              Good thing you were not there.





                              Great Job Men, You all are a credit to the service!
                              Stay Safe
                              Bull


                              “Guys if you get hurt, we’ll help you. If you get sick we’ll treat you. If you want to bitch and moan, then all I can tell you is to flick the sand out of your slit, suck it up or get the hell out!”
                              - Capt. Marc Cox CFD

                              Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.
                              -WINSTON CHURCHILL

                              Comment

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