Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Four Brockton Firefighters Receive Honors For Rescues

BROCKTON--Four Brockton firefighters have been awarded the first Chief Edward L. Burrell Commendation Ribbon for performing rescues above and beyond the call of duty.
Capt. Scott Albanese, Capt. Shawn Kerr, and firefighters Erick Leonard and Roger Dwyer have been named the first recipients of the new award as an acknowledgement of their efforts during blazes in March and May.
"While we stress that firefighting is a team effort, there are those rare occasions where an individual or individuals have gone beyond the norm with a great second effort," said Fire Chief Richard Francis in a prepared statement.
A ceremony was held June 7, 2011 to honor the four firefighters.
Capt. Scott Albanese and firefighter Erick Leonard received the inaugural ribbon for the rescue of a woman during a fire at 4 Northfield St. on March 17 at 2:17 a.m.
The fire began behind a stove in a second-floor apartment.
When firefighters arrived several tenants were outside, but one man told firefighters his 39-year-old sister Darlene Blanchard, a worker at Brockton High's cafeteria, was still inside, and firefighters received reports there might be others.
Firefighters went into the building and found extreme heat and zero visibility as a crew made its way to a doorway to the second floor.
Without benefit of a hose line, Kerr and Dwyer began a difficult search for the missing woman.
After many minutes, crews advanced a hose line to the doorway of the second floor and forced the door open while encountering heavy fire, heat and smoke.
With the hose, the fire was knocked back enough for firefighters to gain entry to the apartment, but abandoning the hose line "with no regard for their personal safety" continued to search for the missing woman.
"A great second effort" by members resulted in Leonard finding a small door partially blocked by an unconscious body.
The door would not open, and with the help of Albanese, the pair forced the door off its hinges and found Blanchard unconscious in a bathroom.
The pair then began the difficult task of bringing Blanchard through the thick smoke down to ground level where an ambulance was waiting to bring her to the hospital.
Unfortunately, Blanchard was pronounced dead at Signature HealthCare Brockton Hospital.
The second floor apartment did not have smoke detectors.
Capt. Shawn Kerr and firefighter Roger Dwyer were commendated for their rescue of 46-year-old Lisa Trevains who was trapped in the basement of a two family house at 75 Melrose Ave., May 6 that was reported at about 11:15 p.m.
Upon arrival, crews found intense heat and dark conditions in the house and were pointed to what has been described as an illegal basement apartment where the woman lived.
Confronted by flames, heat and darkness, Albanese and Dwyer searched the basement without a hose line and found Trevains unconscious near a bed about 5 to 6 feet from the door the firefighters had entered moments before.
Albanese and Dwyer then retraced their steps and raced Trevains to an ambulance where emergency crews administered CPR and tried to revive her.
Trevains was pronounced dead at Brockton Hospital following the rescue.
Chief Francis said the department is proud of all its members, but the four firefighters went above and beyond the call of duty in their efforts.
"They upheld the finest traditions of the Brockton Fire Department," Francis said.
Photo above from left to right: back row: Deputy Chief Michael Williams, Captain Shawn Kerr, Firefighter Roger Dwyer, Chief Richard Francis, Mayor Linda Balzotti, Firefighter Erick Leonard, Captain Scott Albanese, Deputy Chief Timothy Murphy. front row: retired Chief Edward Burrell.

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