SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield Firefighters were honored at the Baker-Polito Administration’s 33rd Annual Firefighter of the Year Awards on Friday.
Governor Charlie Baker, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, and Public Safety Secretary Terrence M. Reidy on Friday joined State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey to honor firefighters from all across Massachusetts at the ceremony, held at Worcester’s Mechanics Hall, according to the Department of Fire Services.
Officials presented 10 medals of valor, nine individual citations for meritorious conduct, seven group citations for meritorious conduct, and two Norman Knight Awards for Excellence in Community Service to members of 17 Massachusetts fire departments. The awards were for lifesaving rescues, lengthy and complex operations at house fires and crash sites, and off-duty action to help when it was needed.
Lieutenant Brian Couture and Firefighter Joshua Rios of the Springfield Fire Department were awarded Individual Citations for Meritorious Conduct awards for rescuing two people from a second-alarm fire on December 27 of 2021. The house fire was in a three-story multifamily home on Belmont Avenue.
When the officers arrived, they saw two people yelling for help from the attic window. Both Couture and Rios set up their 24-foot ladder to go help them. Couture began to go up the ladder to the first victim and helped guide her from the window, onto the ladder, and down to safety. Rios was a brand new probationary firefighter then climbed the ladder and helped the second victim onto the ladder and brought her down safely.
“Over and over again, we see firefighters putting themselves in harm’s way or even life-threatening danger to rescue strangers from harm,” said Governor Baker. “These awards reflect selfless acts of courage, compassion, and service by truly remarkable public servants.”
“Even by the high standards we see in the fire service every day, certain actions truly rise above and beyond the call of duty,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “The Firefighter of the Year awards recognize those heroes among us who rush to help whenever that bell rings. On duty or off, they’re the ones we can always count on to risk everything so that others might live.”