Buffalo Fire Lt. Richard Curran, Capt. Donald Stoeckl and Firefighter Joseph Pietromicca have received the department's top awards for bravery at the Fire Department's annual awards dinner in the Buffalo Convention Center.
For saving a man found unconscious in a smoky fire on Fillmore Avenue, Curran, of Engine 32, will receive the E.H. Butler Gold Medal during the 107th Annual Firefighters Ball. The award is named for Edward H. Butler Jr., the former publisher of The Buffalo Evening News.
Curran, accompanied by two firefighters, battled through heavy smoke to the second floor of an apartment building at 801 Fillmore Ave. just after midnight Nov. 15, 1996. In a bathroom next to the fire's origin, Curran found the man unconscious in a bathtub where he had gone to escape the blaze.
Curran and one of the firefighters carried the victim outside and gave him oxygen until an ambulance arrived.
For his actions that night, Curran also will receive the Erie County Fire Chiefs Mutual Aid Award.
Pietromicca, of Engine 3, and Stoeckl, of Rescue 1, will share the Bravery Gold Medal, the Fire Department's highest honor for heroism, for risking injury on the evening of April 23 to rescue an elderly woman from a burning apartment at 30 Byrd Way in Towne Gardens.
Donning masks, Pietromicca and Stoeckl searched through smoke and flames until they found Georgia Ware, 66, on the living room floor in the midst of her burning furniture. After carrying her to safety, both were treated for first- and second-degree burns of the ears, neck and face and returned to duty after treatment.
Firefighter Patrick Carrig, of Rescue 1, will receive the WKBW-Channel 7 Bravery Award for carrying an unconscious child out of an upstairs bedroom in a fire Jan. 17 at 349 Hewitt Ave.
After a mother and another child were removed from a porch room, Carrig pushed through heavy smoke pouring from an upper window and found the missing youngster in bed. Assisted by Firefighter James Spencer of Engine 1, Carrig carried the unconscious child out via a rear stairway. The youngster later died.
Spencer will receive the Fire Department Bronze Medal for Bravery for his role in the rescue.
Firefighter James Echeverria, Ladder 5, will be given the Fire Department's Silver Medal for Bravery for helping to carry out an invalid woman trapped by fire May 23 in a seventh-floor apartment at 320 Perry St. The woman, who was unconscious, later died.
The E.H. Butler Silver Medal will be awarded to Lt. John Quinlivan, Engine 32, for his efforts in that rescue.
Other winners and their awards:
The A.B. Wright Award for Bravery -- Firefighter Brian Horwood, Rescue 1, for his role in bringing a man up from beneath a railroad trestle over the Buffalo River April 21 in the Conrail yards.
Horwood descended from the trestle to a support beam 30 feet above the water where the man had landed after falling from a moving train and suffering severe injuries to his legs and feet. Horwood calmed the man and gave him first aid before he was raised to safety.
The Independent Insurance Agent's Award -- Firefighter Leonard Ross, Ladder 6, who rescued two infants in bassinets from a two-alarm fire Dec. 29, 1996, in an apartment at 149 Kingsley St.
The Dr. William Marcy Memorial Award -- Firefighter Tim Story, Ladder 7, for bringing a semi-conscious man out of a blazing wood-frame rear cottage at 115 Pooley Place on May 24.
The Professional Firefighters Local 282 Bravery Award -- Firefighter Phil Zadowicz, who assisted Story in the Pooley Place fire.
The Chief E. Bowers Memorial Award -- Firefighter Peter Margerum, Engine 32, for assisting in the rescue of the man found unconscious in the bathtub at 801 Fillmore Ave.
The Obersheimer Glass Co. Award for Valor -- Firefighter Ronald Kamholz, Rescue 1, for his efforts in bringing three frightened people down a ladder after they were trapped on a third-floor balcony during a two-alarm fire Jan. 4 in an apartment house at 8 St. John's Place.
Engine 2, first platoon, and Ladder 9, first platoon, will receive the Commissioner's Unit Citation for their work at this fire.
Four members of Engine 28 will receive the Personal Computer Inc. First Aid Award for reviving a 3-year-old girl in a near-drowning incident Aug. 24, 1996, in a pool at 422 Davey St.
Lt. Joseph Marciniak, Firefighter Francis Urban and rookie Firefighters Jeffery Rapp and Anthony Starzynski acted quickly and restored the girl's breathing before an ambulance arrived.
A unit citation to Engine 32, Ladder 5 and Rescue 1 for their team effort in rescuing the man who fell from the railroad trestle.
Another unit citation to Engine 3, Rescue 1, Engine 18 and Ladder 11 for averting a potential gas explosion July 11, 1996, during a police standoff at 933 Smith St.
A woman barricaded inside the house had turned on the natural gas and threatened to blow the building up. Engine 3 put fire hoses to the building, Rescue 1 handled forcible entry and ventilation, Engine 18 stood ready to lay additional lines and Ladder 11 was prepared to ventilate the building.
Firefighter Anthony Liberatore, Rescue 1, subdued the woman immediately after Rescue 1 forced a side door open and brought her outside. Members of Engine 3 and Rescue 1 searched the building for children and ventilated the house.
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Award -- Firefighter Charles Brown, Engine 34, for rescuing and reviving a large, apparently lifeless dog which he found March 18 during a smoky bedroom fire at 565 Lisbon Ave.
The Donald Auer Humanitarian Award -- Retired Firefighter Joseph Miller, who has performed about 7,000 hours of volunteer work at Children's Hospital. The Commissioner's Outstanding Service Award -- Firefighter Milford Cumberlander, Engine 21, for his emergency treatment of victims at an accident March 31 between a car and a minivan carrying 10 passengers at Northland and Fillmore avenues. Cumberlander came upon the crash while he was off-duty.
The Dr. Carl Day Award -- Father Joseph Bayne, director of the Franciscan Center on Seneca Street.
"He shows up at fires, supports us in grief counseling and, basically, he's a good friend of the Fire Department," Division Chief Don McFeeley said.
Fire Department Citizen Award -- Jacqueline Trent, who saved a choking family member by performing first aid.