ON A LATE August evening, Task Force 15 was dispatched to a sizable residential fire near Exposition Park. As is customary, Engineer Robert Medrano went to work securing the water supply for Engine 46 as soon as he arrived on the scene. With his primary task completed, he quickly moved on to survey the exterior of the structure. He made his way to the backyard and encountered a frantic group of residents. They were unharmed but claimed two members of the household were still trapped inside.
At this point, heavy fire was showing from all sides of the building. With no time to waste, Engineer Medrano entered through the back door in search of the entrapped victims. He crouched low and moved with haste as thick, noxious smoke billowed throughout the house. He searched until he located a blocked door, but it was too late. His eyes were searing. His lungs burned from the smoke and from holding his breath. He had to retreat to the backyard and regain his breath. Twice more, he reentered the burning home in search of the trapped victims. On his third attempt, the door was breached with help from Engine 66 crew members, and the two victims were extracted. Engineer Medrano proceeded to render aid to a barely breathing female victim until she was loaded into an ambulance. Medrano performed these acts despite not having his self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) – a firefighter’s face protection and breathing system. He suffered significant smoke inhalation and was transported to a nearby hospital. While receiving oxygen treatment, Medrano learned the unfortunate news that the patient he helped rescue had passed away. Engineer Medrano risked his personal safety in hopes of saving others. Despite the somber outcome, he is commended for his bravery and selflessness.
ON A SWELTERING August evening, Firefighter III Cody Crippen was set to enjoy some family time at the local pool. Not long after settling in, Cody heard screaming, ensued by a whirlwind of commotion. He looked up and saw a woman carrying a lifeless little boy. Cody rushed to help as a crowd gathered. He encountered a father performing CPR on the unconscious child. Cody identified himself as a firefighter and knelt down to help. He quickly cleared the boy’s airway, delivered a series of back blows alternated by chest compressions. During the third set of compressions, the boy began to regain consciousness. Within minutes of reviving the boy, local firefighters arrived on the scene. Cody conducted the handoff with the ambulance crew, then proceeded to comfort the child’s parents while paramedics rendered care. Thankfully the little boy has recovered fully due to the father’s CPR training and Firefighter Crippen’s heroic actions.