Fireman 1st grade Lawrence J. Fraker Ladder 157, received the Brooklyn Citizens Medal for rescuing the occupants of 1391 Flatbush Avenue on December 16, 1962. Fireman Fraker found twelve occupants on the 2nd floor landing refusing to move due to the heat coming up the stairwell. Pushing, carrying, he forced them down the stairs only to be blocked by fire coming from the store on the first floor. He placed himself between the fire and their escape and six managed to get out before his clothing caught fire. Seeing this, the members of Engine 255 put a charged hose line on Fireman Fraker. Before being taken to the hospital he notified his officer that there were more people trapped in the hallway.


Captain John T. Rokee, Covering in Ladder 157, 12th Division, received the John H. Prentice Medal for assisting in rescuing the trapped occupants of 1391 Flatbush Avenue on December 16, 1962. Captain Rokee helped the remaining people that Fireman Fraker had brought down out of the hallway. He then went upstairs to the 2nd and 3rd floor and found another group of people trapped, and brought them down to safety. Between Fireman Fraker and Captain Rokee they rescued six adults and eight children.


Fireman 1st grade Robert L. Tyrrell Ladder 157, received the Hispanic Society Memorial Medal for rescuing a woman and child from a third floor bedroom at 1094 New York Avenue on April 24, 1968. He made a search of the fire apartment and found Barbara Beckwick unconscious. He dragged the unconscious form to the window and handed the woman to other members of Ladder 157, Going back into the burning bedroom he found Dawn Grier, 10 months old in a burning crib. Scooping up the child he raced to the front door as other members of Ladder 157 were breaking down the door. He handed the child to Lieutenant Spitz before collapsing and had to be carried out of the building himself. Mrs. Beckwick was placed on the critical list but, the child died in the hospital. All this was done before any water was placed on the fire.


Firefighter 1st grade Robert L. Tyrrell Ladder 157, received his second medal, the William F. Conran Medal for rescuing two children from a bedroom at 2525 Bedford Avenue on April 24, 1971. He entered the fire floor via the rear fire escape and found one child just inside the bedroom window. He handed the child to waiting members outside of the window and entered the room for a second search. Fireman Tyrrell was taking a terrible beating from the heat and smoke but found the second child between the bed and wall. He carried this child to the window and safety. He then entered a third time to search a crib in the bedroom but found no additional children. After the third search Fireman Tyrrell had to be assisted out of the fire building because of exhaustion. Both children recovered in the hospital.


Fireman 1st Grade Robert A. Brill Ladder 157, received the Pulaski Association Medal for rescuing a little girl from a smoke filled room at 2323 Newkirk Avenue on February 25, 1975. Fireman Brill entered the window of a first floor apartment upon hearing that a child was trapped in the building. The fire had taken possession of three rooms on the fire floor. He worked his way toward the rear bedrooms looking for this child. In the last room he found the girl, unconscious. He protected the little girl with his coat and found his way back to the window, giving the little girl new lease on life. All this was done without the use of a mask or a charged hose line.




Fireman 1st grade Robert L. Tyrrell Ladder 157, received the Captain Denis W. Lane Memorial Medal for rescuing two people from a third floor apartment at 800 E. 14th Street on March 12, 1976. Firemen Tyrrell drove the company’s tower ladder to the front of the building. As he was raising th bucket it stopped and froze in place and would not budge. He then went for a 35’ ladder and placed it at the third floor window. The flames were pushing out of the first and second floor windows as Fireman Tyrrell went up the ladder to rescue a man from the third floor. Shielding the man from the flames he brought him down to safety. The man said that a bedridden woman was still on the third floor. Going back up the ladder and passing the flames Fireman Tyrrell found the 78 year old woman and dragged her to the window. During this time the tower ladder had been fixed and moved to the window. Both Tyrrell and the woman enter the safety of the bucket.


Fireman 1st Grade Lawrence T. Murphy Ladder 157, received the Lt. Robert R. Dolney Medal for rescuing a woman from a burning apartment at 596 Argyle Road on September 12, 1981. Fireman Murphy entered the fire apartment on his hands and knees. Beside pushing through the heat of the fire Murphy had to fight his way through a "Collier mansion." He had to climb over, around and under the junk that blocked his way. He found Ermine Harkins collapsed behind the bathroom door, blocking it from opening. Murphy forced the door open and dragged the unconscious woman to a safe place. She was not breathing and burned over 20 percent of her body. Fireman Murphy along with other firemen brought her back to life. She recovered fully after a long hospital stay.


Captain Stanley Foner Ladder 157, received the Uniformed Fire Officers Association Medal for rescuing a woman from 1921 Avenue "I" on January 8, 1984. Upon arriving at the fire building tenants told the Captain that a woman was trapped in the building. Captain Foner forced the door of the fire apartment and made a search while other members of Ladder 157 donned their mask. He entered the apartment and started his search only to be forced back by the heat. Hearing the woman was still missing, he entered the apartment once again and this time went deeper into the burning apartment. In the rear bedroom he found the woman unconscious and covered with a blanket. Completely covering her with the blanket he dragged her through two rooms of fire to the public hallway. Ann Feslowick survived the fire due to the determination of Captain Foner.


Fireman 1st grade Harvey L. Harrell Ladder 157, received the Third Alarm Association Medal for rescuing a man from a fire at 1400 E. 52nd Street on March 12, 1986. Fireman Harrell performed his duty as the outside ventilation man, then went to the rear of the fire building to survey conditions. He forced entry through the rear door into the kitchen and began his search with the living room being fully involved in fire. Entering the bedroom Harvey located a lifeless form partially under the bed. Knowing he could not return through the kitchen because of the fire he tried to get out a window only to be trapped by window bars. Knowing he had only a short time before the room flashed over he retraced his steps back through the kitchen. He dragged the victim under the roaring fire overhead to the outside. The 72 year old man had been burned so severely that he died several hours later.


Fireman 1st grade Gareth S. Nielsen Ladder 157, received the Commissioner Edward Thompson Medal for rescuing a woman from a burning second floor apartment in a private dwelling at 2421 Avenue "L" n April 5, 1991. Fireman Nielsen was told that people were trapped in the fire apartment. As he was placing a ladder in the rear a woman appeared on the porch yelling her mother was in the fire apartment. Notifying the chief that he was going into the apartment to rescue the woman. He went through the window and started his search. Halfway through he heard a moan to his left and went toward the sound giving up the safety of the wall. With the heat building up in the room and a flashover happening at any moment he found Rosalie Steiner, 80 years old in the hallway and bedroom. Kneeling he dragged, and half carried her to the bedroom window where he lifted her out and on to the porch. She was burnt over forty percent of her body but did surveyed.


Lieutenant Jeremiah P. Collins Ladder 157, received the Fire Chiefs Association Memorial Medal for attempting the rescuing of a man in a basement bedroom at 625 Westminster Road on September 25, 1991. Lt. Collins going down the basement stairs yelled out "Is anyone down here?" and heard someone say "Help me." Going deeper into the basement he found Bruce Donelon in the fire room. Crawling under the fire he tried to pull the 300 pound man out. Another firefighter joined in trying to get the man out. The room suddenly burst into flames and the three men were taking a terrible beating. The protective fire gear protected the two firemen somewhat but all three were burning. Just in time the engine put water on the fire and the three were pulled out. Unfortunately the heat and fire were to much for the 35 year old man and he died in the hospital.


Lieutenant John J. Pritchard Ladder 157, received the Mayor LaGuardia Medal for the attempted rescue of a 70 year old man at 1188 E. 34th Street on March 27, 1992. Ladder 157 arrived several minutes after Engine 255 arrival and were told that a man was trapped in the fire. Lieutenant James Greco, was being carried out after trying to rescue the trapped man. Lieutenant Pritchard entered the fire building and encountered heavy smoke and high heat. He stay low as he made his way to the bedroom, which was burning along with the living room. Once in the living room Lieutenant Pritchard found Joseph O’Leary on the bed with his clothing on fire. He pulled him from the bed, extinguished the burning clothes. The fire intensified as he was dragging the victim to safety. All during this time Lieutenant Pritchard was receiving serious burns to his neck and face. Mr. O’Leary was removed to Coney Island Hospital and succumbed to his injuries. Lieutenant Pritchard spent over two months on medical leave recovering from his burns.


Fireman 1st grade Daniel J. Dempsey Ladder 157, received the Brooklyn Citizens Medal for rescuing a 4 year old child from 799 E. 8th Street on April 16, 1992. Ladder 157 arrived in front of a three story wood frame house with heavy black smoke pushing from the second floor windows and cockloft. The first due engine transmitted a 10-70, a delay in getting water on the fire. Fireman Dempsey was told that children were trapped on the fire floor. Without hesitation he placed a portable ladder to the second floor and entered the smoke filled hallway. He crawled on his belly to the front bedroom and found the door locked. Breaking the door down he located the limp form of young Yisroel Frank. Not breathing Fireman Dempsey took off his mask and placed it on the young child. Crawling back into the hallway he dragged the young child to the stairs and down to safety.


Lieutenant Robert Bolker Ladder 157, received the Chief John J. McElligott Medal for the attempted rescue of a little girl from a fire at 179 Linden Boulevard on October 24, 1992. Ladder 157 arrived first at six story apartment building with smoke pushing out the first floor apartment windows. A mother was screaming that her child was in the rear bedroom. Lieutenant Bolker did not hesitate, pass the fire in the living room knowing the hydrant was not working. Once in the bedroom he started his search and found little 2 year old Itye Whyte wedged between the wall and the bed. Protecting the child as best as he could, he crawled down the hall, passing the fire in the living room that was growing. Once outside Lieutenant Bolker started CPR on the little girl until relieved by Engine 249. Despite the heroic effort made by the members of Ladder 157, the child received burns over 50% of her body and died in the hospital.


Lieutenant James M. Amato, assigned to Battalion 58 and covering in Ladder 157, received the Fire Bell Club Medal for rescuing Maryann Shapiro, age 90 years old, from 5455 Kings Highway on January 29, 1993. Ladder 157 was assigned as an additional truck to the box. Information was relayed to Lieutenant Amato that a woman was trapped on the fourth floor. Lieutenant Amato and his forcible entry team went to the fire floor and saw two apartments on fire. The doors to the two apartment were left open and a 45 mile per hour wind was blowing the fire out the doors like a blow torch. Lieutenant Amato crawled down the hallway passed the fire to apartment 4J where the woman was found semi-conscious. Two engine companies had entered the hallway and drove the fire back into the two apartments and Lieutenant Amato removed the victim down the interior stairway. The fire would burn out that floor and two other floors. If it wasn’t for Lieutenant Amato bravery Maryann Shapiro would have perished in the fire.


Fireman 1st grade Thomas J. Gardner Ladder 157, received the Edith B. Goldman Medal for rescuing a woman from a basement apartment at 729 E. 26th Street on November 7, 1993. When Ladder 157 arrived people were screaming that a woman was trapped in the basement apartment. Part of the forcible entry team, Tom entered the hallway that leads to the basement and 1st floor. The door blocked the basement stairs and prevented the placement of a hoseline into the basement. Knowing this Tom went down into the basement to look for the woman. The fire was in the small kitchen across the room. Because of the limited ventilation and low ceilings the heat was building up and conditions were becoming unbearable. Continuing passed the kitchen on his belly he found the bedroom and entered it looking for the victim. He found 45 year old Jacqueline Vital, unconscious on the bed. He dragged her through the bedroom and kitchen, up the stairs and to safety. She was admitted to the hospital and would recover.


Fireman 1st grade Thomas E. Clair III, received the Third Alarm Association Medal for rescuing a 35 year old man from 734 E. 8th Street on October 13, 1994. While enroute the company was given reports that people were trapped in the building. Smelling the fire several blocks away, Ladder 157 could not believe what they saw when pulling up in front of the fire building. A two story wood frame private dwelling that had fire coming out every window on both floors. With little time left the forcible entry team went up the partially burnt staircase to the second floor. The fire had total control of the rear bedrooms moving down the hallway to the front bedrooms. Tom raced the fire to one of the front bedroom and started his search. He located a mattress on the floor and found Eric Penzola not responding lying on it. Knowing he could not retreat back through the hallway because of the advancing fire Tom called for a ladder to carry what seemed at the time a dead man. Before a ladder could be placed against the window an engine company was putting water on the fire in the hallway. Without a second thought Tom carried the man down the hallway and down the stairs to safety. Eric would spend a long time in the hospital before recovering and getting on with his life.


Lieutenant Robert J. Bolker Ladder 157, received the Thomas F. Dougherty Medal for rescuing five people from a fire at 371 E. 32nd Street on December 13, 1994. Lt. Bolker received over the radio that people were trapped in the fire building. Racing in with the forcible entry team they found the fire was in the basement even though the smoke only coming out of the second floor windows. The roofman radioed that he could see some people in the rear top bedroom. Lt. Bloker worked his way to the rear bedroom were he found a 3 month boy and a 13 day old boy along with three women in their thirty’s. One by one the five victims were handed out to the members of Ladder 147. All five were overcome by smoke and after a short stay in the hospital all recovered.


Fireman Anthony Rocco, Jr. Engine 255 detailed to Ladder 157, received the Arthur J. Laufer Memorial Medal for rescuing an 88 year old lady from a fire at 1006 E. 36th Street on October 8, 1990. The first run of the night found the company responding to a report of fire in a second floor apartment. Once on the scene it was learnd that two elderly sisters were still in the fire apartment. Anthony being the can man went to the fire apartment and used his extinguisher to keep the flames in check inside the fire apartment. He entered the apartment to look for the two ladies only to be blocked by their collection of newspapers and other treasures that the ladies collected. Once through the obstacle course he located 88 year old Mary Greenhill, unconscious in the rear bedroom. Anthony could see Engine 255 in position with the hose line to attack the fire when they backed out without putting water on the fire due to a burst hose line. Knowing he did not have much time left he looked for another way out and could not find one so he closed the bedroom door to buy some extra time. Only when he heard water hitting the fire did he open the door and carry the woman out of the building and to safety.

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