Illinois Firefighters Honored for Rescue

If it weren’t for the heroic actions of Tinley Park firefighters, Dennis Oles believes his wife wouldn’t be alive today, reports The Chicago Tribune.

Village officials took a moment at their most recent board meeting to honor the team of firefighters who responded to a house fire on the 8100 block of Piute Trail and helped rescue the woman this past spring.

“They had to come in there and take her out,” Oles said of his wife, Barbara, during a telephone interview. “To be honest with you, if they didn’t, she would not be alive.”

Firefighters were called to the residence about 4:30 a.m. May 13, said village trustee and Public Safety Chairman Brian Maher.

While on their way, the firefighters were alerted that there were people trapped in the home, Maher said.

The first firefighters at the scene sized up the situation and advanced a hose line for search and rescue as well as fire attack, officials said.

Lt. Todd Swartzentruber noticed that the floor had burned completely through by the front door, officials said.

As more firefighters arrived, some assisted with primary search and rescue while others took care of fire control and ventilation while the searches were being performed, officials said.

As Swartzentruber and firefighter Mike Kushner advanced the initial hose line, “they heard a shallow cry from the living room area,” Maher said.

The smoke was “very intense,” officials said, so firefighters used a thermal imaging camera to scan the area. Swartzentruber directed Kushner to continue holding the fire in check with the hose as he moved in the general area, trying to locate the victim, officials said.

After finding her, Swartzentruber yelled for additional help. Engineer Pat O’Dwyer and firefighter John Nagle helped take the victim to EMS at the front door, officials said.

Immediately afterward, firefighter Chris Tillson fell partially through a hole in the floor but was helped out by engineer Kevin Hickey and firefighter Doug Hughes, officials said.
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