A former police chief became a part of the Bellmore Fire Department as a volunteer firefighter. Because of that decision, he was able to help one family in a terrible fire.
Saving A Life
On November 12, 2012, there was a house fire with a person trapped inside. The first people to hear the call were former Chief John Curley, 45, and his son.
When they arrived at the scene, a man in the driveway told them his mom was stuck on the second floor in a bedroom. Curley later said it was the worst fire he had seen in his 20 years on the job.
No fire trucks were onsite yet, so Curley had to improvise. He took a file cabinet and put a broken wooden ladder on top to get to the room's window.
Since he did not have any of his firefighting equipment, he used his hands to break the window and get into the room. Black smoke came out of the window.
Even though he did not have any of his protective gear, he knew he needed to get in there to help. So he climbed into the room to reach the woman before the whole house went up in flames.
He located the man's mother lying on the floor, unconscious when he got inside. He picked her up and handed her out the window to his son, waiting on the ladder.
Curley's son gave her medical attention. They saved her life that day. But unfortunately, according to Curley, 93-year-old Evelyn Ross passed away eight months after the fire.
Curley was given the Medal of Valor for his brave actions in a ceremony at the White House. In the ceremony Attorney General Eric Holder said, "Hero is a word that we use too often in our society. But today, we are recognizing people who are real heroes."
Then vice-president Joe Biden said, "You're a rare breed. You are the best thing we have going for us."