For Immediate Release
Firefighters' Extraordinary Efforts Recognized
A dramatic rescue of two Springfield girls in a house fire at their grandmother's home on McDaniel Street last January, is one the of many heroic efforts to be recognized tonight at the Springfield Fire Department Annual Awards Banquet at 7 p.m. tonight, March 22, at Mercy C.H. Chub O'Reilly Cancer Center, 2055 S. Fremont.
Aleena Havens and Alexia Havens were ages 8 and 5 at the time and suffered burns on their arms, legs and torsos.They were hospitalized in critical condition after being rescued from their burning home by firefighters and a paramedic.
Joe Heath, a paramedic for Mercy EMS, was one of the first to arrive at the house at 1400 E. McDaniel St. He broke the window of a bedroom in back of the house and was able to get one of the girls out. Heath suffered smoke inhalation and was treated and released. Police officers were also trying to make their way into the back of the burning home when firefighters arrived.
Three firefighters: Capt. John "Rosie" Grier and rescue specialists Jeff Elliott and Scott Lambeth, were able to enter the house and use a thermal imaging camera to help find a second girl lying in bed in another room. It was "hot, dark, except for where the fire was," Elliot explained in news accounts. "I ran in and grabbed the girl." He estimated he was in the house for about 50 seconds.
A police officer was also taken to the hospital, and a firefighter suffered burns to his ears but was not taken to the hospital.
Both girls were treated at Mercy Burn Center and Shriners Hospital for Children in Cincinnati for their severe burns. Family members say the girls will continue physical therapy and will need more surgeries as they grow.
Other awards to be presented tonight include:
- Community Service Award: Springfield Response to the Joplin tornado
- Community Service Award: Tony Kelley
- Community Service Award: John Marion
- Community Service Award: Ulrich Wilfred Gulje
- Civilian Life Save Award: Casey Lands
- Civilian Life Save Award: Gerald Martin
- Civilian Life Save Award: Chris Nowlin, Neal Mutarelli, and Spencer McCloud
- Civilian Life Save Award: Mark Edwards
- Certificate of Appreciation: Brian Smith
- Certificate of Appreciation: Virgil Dake
- Certificate of Appreciation: Terry Quick
Medical Life Save Award
- Engine 1 A and Rescue 1 A: Captain John "Rosie" Grier and Firefighter Eric Roepke
- Engine 2 B: Captain Scott Jones, Equipment Operator Chad Davis, and Firefighter Christopher Roush
- Engine 2 C: Equipment Operator Glenn Kimberlin, Firefighter Jamie Frieze, and Firefighter David Park
- Truck 3 A: Captain John Albert, Equipment Operator Brad Karr, and Firefighter Bradley Nelson
- Truck 3 A: Captain John Albert, Equipment Operator Brad Karr, Firefighter Ryan Zinter, and Firefighter Geoffrey Hammer
- Quint 4 A: Captain Phil Rolewicz, Equipment Operator Tom McKellips, Firefighter Keith Kenyeri, and Firefighter Kurt Priebe
- Quint 5 C: Captain Ken Scott, Equipment Operator Jim Lane, and Firefighter Marcus Winstead
- Engine 7 C: Captain Bill Odom, Firefighter Brad Jones, and Firefighter Hank Owen
- Engine 12 A: Equipment Operator Matt Engel, Firefighter Jubal Hicks, and Firefighter Matt Fields
- Fire Life Save Award: Rescue 1 C: Captain John Grier, Rescue Specialist Jeffrey Elliott, and Rescue Specialist Scott Lambeth
- Distinguished Unit Award: Rescue 1 C – Captain John Grier, Rescue Salvage Specialists Jeffrey Elliott, Scott Lambeth, and Brian Schafer
- Fire Life Save Award: Engine 2 and Truck 2 B: Captain Scott Jones and Captain Tony Kelley
- Distinguished Unit Award: Engine 2 and Truck 2 B – Captain Scott Jones, Equipment Operator Jason McCormick, Firefighter Christopher Roush, Captain Tony Kelley, Firefighter Travis Morrissey, and Firefighter JB Lilley
- Outstanding Unit Award: Engine 7 A – Captain Dean Curtis, Equipment Operator Darran Kinney, Firefighter Brian Davis, and Firefighter Geoff Hammer
- Firefighter of the Year: Eric Roepke
- Fire Officer of the Year: Dean Curtis
The Department will also recognize former Springfield firefighters who passed away in the previous year: Curtis Eli Martin, March 17; Robert (Bob) L. Anderson, April 13; James R. (Jim) Cottengim, Oct. 12; and Howard E. Knapp, Dec. 12.
For more information, contact: Cora Scott, Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement, 417-864-1009 (office) | 417-380-3352 (mobile), firstname.lastname@example.org