On a hot August night in 2010, New York City Firefighter Peter Demontreux and his unit arrived at a fire at a 4-story brownstone. The fire was already raging when the crew arrived.
Searching For Survivors
The front door and the stairwell up to the third floor were completely blocked and a hoseline needed to be placed in order for the firefighters to get inside. However, instead of waiting for it to be put in place, Demontreux decided to use the aerial ladder to get into a third-floor window.
Once he reached the window, he found a resident who said another person was still stuck inside the apartment. Demontreux helped the man onto the ladder and went inside to locate the trapped resident.
Demontreux found the trapped civilian far inside the apartment. As the brave firefighter helped the resident through the building, there was an explosion on the third floor.
Getting to Safety
Per the Battalion Chief’s report, due to the explosion, Demontreux caught on fire, and so did the fire victim. He did not want to leave the civilian behind.
He placed the victim on the aerial ladder and dove out after him. The burning men were put out by the hoseline, but both had severe burns.
While the victim had bur on 50% of his body, he and firefighter Demontreux survived. According to reports, Demontreux’s equipment was tested, and it was discovered that it had withstood temperatures of over 1,000 degrees.
Honored For His Bravery
Along with Firefighter Peter Demontreux, 18 other heroes were awarded the Public Safety Officer Medals of Valor, which were awarded by Vice President Joe Biden. Biden addressed the honorees, saying, “it’s not just the uniform, it’s the heart that beats inside the uniform. You’re all a different breed-thank God for you.”
When it came to Demontreux’s s turn, he was announced by Attorney General Eric Holder, who told the ceremony guests that he “caught fire-caught fire!” Demontreux received burns on his face and his back.
“I’m very grateful. It’s a really big deal. I’m grateful for the award, and I’m grateful my family will be there when I receive it. We were all trained for stuff like this, so I didn’t panic. I really didn’t think about anything besides helping those people.”FNDY Firefighter Demontreux