Firefighters honored for their rescue of disabled woman from house fire

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Local firefighters and EMS personnel involved in the rescue of a disabled woman from a residential fire were recently honored for their courage.

At Tuesday’s board of works meeting, these individuals were recognized for “acts of heroism and bravery that were above and beyond the call of duty,” as Chief Andy Lay put it.

Six Columbus Fire Department members, who were directly responsible for the rescue, were presented with the Medal of Valor.

“These individuals were the first in to actually make the rescue inside the structure, but as everything we do in the fire service, it’s a team effort, and everybody played a role,” said Lay.

Lay was among the 18 additional individuals awarded the Medal of Courage. According to a release from CFD, this included 16 department members who operated at the scene and two Columbus Regional Health ambulance service technicians who provided medical care and transport for the injured woman.

On the afternoon of June 17, firefighters responded to the report of a bed on fire, with flames spreading to a nearby wall, in a residence at 201 S. Hinman Street, said CFD spokesman Capt. Mike Wilson earlier this month.

When the first firefighters arrived on the scene, they learned that a disabled woman was unable to leave the back bedroom on her own and immediately went to rescue her.  The firefighters found the woman in a mechanical lift device, unable to free herself.

They quickly moved her out of the home, and she was transported away to receive medical attention. While the woman did not have visible burns, Wilson said, there were concerns about smoke inhalation and possible thermal burns to her airway due to being trapped in a high heat, smoke-filled room for a period of time.

After the rescue, firefighters began putting out the fire, which took about 10 minutes before it was under control. When they initially arrived, flames and smoke were shooting through a screened-in front porch on the front of the two-bedroom home, eventually causing the front area to collapse.

For the complete story, see Thursday’s Republic.