Emergency workers honored for life-saving rescue efforts

Columbus and Bartholomew County public safety personnel were honored at Tuesday’s Columbus Board of Public Works and Safety meeting for their efforts to save a couple trapped in a home fire earlier this month.

According to Columbus Fire Department, the fire happened the morning of June 1st in the 800 block of Reed Street. The fire was consuming the front patio, staircase and exit area, so the couple and their pets had to retreat to a second floor bedroom where they waited for assistance and called 911. Columbus police were first on scene and the officer saw a woman in the second floor window. He communicated with the couple, urging them to stay in his sight.

Columbus firefighters arrived on scene and based on information from the police rescued the couple using ground-based ladders. Their pets were rescued a short time later. They were all assisted by Columbus Regional Hospital medics, including oxygen treatment for the pets, and no one was injured.

Columbus Fire Chief Andy Lay praised the cooperation and communication between dispatchers, police, firefighters and medics that allowed the rescue to happen.

Medals of Courage were awarded to Columbus firefighters: Captain Mike Sieverding, Lieutenant Ben Whiteside, and privates Eric Green, Samuel Burnett, Samantha Smith and Thomas Nienaber.

Exceptional Support Commendations were made to Columbus Police Capt. Toby Combest, Bartholomew County Emergency Operations Center dispatchers Megan Hedger, Haley Kittle, Tony McClain and Belinda Quillen and to CRH emergency medical services personnel, Paramedics Jessica Hinds and John Trappe, Advanced EMT Jerika Newland, and EMT Michael Park.

Photo courtesy of Columbus Fire Department. From left to right, Deputy Chief Mark Ziegler, Firefighter Samantha Smith, Firefighter Samuel Burnett, Firefighter Eric Green, Captain Mike Sieverding, Chief Andy Lay, Dispatcher Tony McClain, Dispatcher Haley Kittle, Dispatcher Megan Hedger, Dispatcher Belinda Quillen, Capt. Toby Combest