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Paramedics, firefighters honored for saving three in Rumford fire
Jay Morrissette and Ryan Arsenault, paramedics with Med-Care Ambulance; Matt Winston and brothers Mike and Allen Chartier (absent from photo) of the Mexico Fire Department were honored Thursday for their roles in saving a adult and two toddlers at a structure fire to a large multi-family residence on 82 Maine Ave. on July 2. At center, Rumford Fire Chief reads an account of that night. To his right are Mexico Fire Chief Gary Wentzell and Med-Care Ambulance Chief of Operations Dean Milligan. (Times photo by Bruce Farrin)
MEXICO -- Two paramedics and three firefighters were honored Thursday for their roles in saving an adult and two toddlers at a structure fire to a large multi-family residence on 82 Maine Ave. on July 2.
The recognition of Jay Morrissette and Ryan Arsenault, paramedics with Med-Care Ambulance; and Matt Winston and brothers Mike and Allen Chartier of the Mexico Fire Department took place before an appreciative crowd during the Town of Mexico's annual Night of Appreciation.
Rumford Fire Chief Bob Chase noted, "Three lives were saved that night, along with saving at least three other buildings, homes to dozens of citizens. These homes, in close proxity to the fire, could easily have been lost."
Upon arrival, crews were notified that there were three individuals, a father and two small children, trapped on the third floor of the rear balcony.
Chase said the third floor balcony was unreachable by ground ladders using conventional ground fighting techniques. Firefighter Michael Chartier, Firefighter Allen Chartier, Paramedic Ryan Arsenault and Paramedic Jay Morrisette collectively worked to overcome the challenge. They climbed the roof of an adjoined porch. They then lifted the ladder onto the porch and were able to deploy it and reach the victims of the third floor balcony. All three residents were helped to the ground to safety just moments before the porch was engulfed in flames.
"Saving three lives is something all the emergency responders in the River Valley should be proud of. Every member of these organizations have dedicated their lives to protecting others. I'd like to extend recognition to a few particular individuals who, through their training and education, were able to meet the challenges faced on that harrowing night," he said.
Chase then awarded the four (Allen Chartier was absent) with the Rumford Fire Department's Letter of Commendation "For exceptional acts above and beyond expectations, and for bravery, composure and soundness of mind in the face of adversity, which resulted in the saving of three lives."
In addition, Chase presented a Letter of Appreciation presented to Matt Winston, who took the two young children, once they were rescued from the third floor balcony, to waiting EMS personnel.
Mexico Fire Chief Gary Wentzell presented Town of Mexico plaques to the Chartier brothers, "For your outstanding efforts and professionalism during a fire on July 2, 2012 from Mexico town officials."
Rep. Sheryl Briggs presented Legislative Sentiments to the heroes, "Whose quick thinking and fast action saved the lives of a man and two children in a fire that destroy an 11-unit apartment building in Rumford.