Citizens who tried to resuscitate a man having a heart attack, saved an injured woman from freezing to death, and alerted residents that their home was on fire are being honored Tuesday.
Five civilians will receive the Niagara Falls Fire Department's Citizen Rescue Awards at an annual luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday in the Pyrate's Table restaurant, 1210 Portage Road.
Mayor James C. Galie and Fire Chief Paul S. Shanks will present the awards for actions in December 1996 and April of this year. The event is sponsored by the Niagara Falls Kiwanis Club.
On Dec. 4, 1996, Bill Witkopf was driving to work on Buffalo Avenue at 6:08 a.m. when he saw heavy smoke and a bright glow from an apartment house at 8742 Buffalo Ave. He stopped, flagged down a passing motorist and told him to call the Fire Department, and rushed toward the dwelling.
Witkopf was unable to get into the building, but he found a brick and hurled it through a second-floor window. That woke up the couple inside, who alerted the two residents of a neighboring apartment. All escaped safely.
Three days later, Fred Zacher and Tracy Traver were passing by a home at 633 22nd St. when they heard a woman crying for help. They found the woman on a second-floor porch. The 87-year-old woman had tripped on a rug and was unable to get up. She was suffering from hypothermia.
Zacher and Ms. Traver called 911, covered the woman with blankets, and stayed with her until the ambulance arrived. The woman survived.
On April 11, Sue Perlman, a registered nurse, and John Martino were among those eating dinner in Kelly's Corner, 524 Cayuga Drive, when another customer fell to the floor.
The man, in his 50s, had suffered a heart attack. Mrs. Perlman, assisted by Martino, performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the man, whose heart had stopped. They kept it up until Fire Department personnel arrived. Although the man died, Mrs. Perlman and Martino are being honored for their efforts.