Emergency responders honored for rescuing 2 from fire

Columbus and Bartholomew County emergency services agencies were recognized for their collaborative efforts in the rescue of two adults trapped in an apartment fire on June 1. Columbus Fire Chief Andy Lay presented commendations at the June 28 Board of Public Works and Safety meeting at Columbus City Hall.

On June 1 at 8:14 a.m., a residential fire at 807½ Reed St. left two adults and several pets trapped inside a second-floor apartment. With flames consuming the apartment’s entryway patio and staircase, the occupants of the apartment were forced to shelter in place and rely on help from public safety emergency service responders.

The 911 call was taken by Bartholomew County Emergency Operations Center dispatchers. This information was immediately sent out to police, fire, and emergency medical services. The dispatch center gathered key information and shared that information in real time to provide responders with a prearrival image of the incident. This information included the fact that two adults were trapped inside a burning residence.

Columbus police officers were first to arrive on the scene and, based on the dispatch information, were able to locate a woman in an upstairs bedroom window who was attempting to escape the smoke within the apartment. CPD officers advised both occupants to remain inside at the window and told the two adults that firefighters were on their way.

Columbus firefighters arrived on the scene a few moments later and reported a working residential fire. Based on information from dispatchers and police about persons trapped, firefighters were able to locate the occupants in a second story window. Firefighters quickly used ladders to reach the second-story bedroom window and rescued the two adult occupants. The pets were rescued a short time later and the fire was extinguished.

Following the rescue, both adults received a medical evaluation by Columbus Regional Health emergency medical services personnel. The pets, which were rescued during the fire suppression operation, were provided oxygen therapy by CRH EMS and then reunited with the owners. All were unharmed, including occupants Richard Burton and Alexandra Brandt.

Lay presented Medals of Courage to CFD Lt. Ben Whiteside, Pvt. Eric Green, Pvt. Samuel Burnett, Capt. Mike Sieverding, Pvt. Samantha Smith and Pvt. Thomas Nienaber.

Exceptional Support Commendation recipients were: Megan Hedger, Haley Kittle, Tony McClain and Belinda Quillen from the Bartholomew County Emergency Operations Center Dispatch; CPD Capt. Toby Combest; and paramedic Jessica Hinds, advanced EMT Jerika Newland, EMT Michael Park and paramedic John Trappe from CRH EMS.