Firefighters earn Medal of Gallantry saving lives

Three Sheffield Lake firefighters were awarded the Medal of Gallantry for heroic efforts that saved the lives of two victims trapped in a house fire.

Firefighters Dan Forror, Kaile Bauhof and Dalton Wilson were recognized at the January 24 City Council meeting, where their families and city officials heard Fire Chief David Novak describe the harrowing events the morning of December 17.

Novak said Sheffield Lake Engine 63 responded to a mutual aid assistance call from Sheffield Village where a working fire was reported at a residential group home. “As the crew traveled down Abbe Road, a large column of black smoke could be seen in the distance,” he told the audience. At the same time Lorain County 911 confirmed victims were trapped inside the burning home.

Once the Sheffield Lake team arrived on scene, firefighters Forror and Bauhof were assigned to search for the reported victims while firefighter Wilson was assigned to assist in securing a permanent water supply.

Novak described what happened next. “Forror and Bauhof entered the front door and pushed past the operating hand-line. They were met with zero visibility and moderate, but increasing, heat conditions. Working as a team, the firefighters made their way down the hallway maneuvering over drywall and insulation from the ceiling that had collapsed.”

“Locating the first room, the firefighters completed an oriented search. No victims were found and the window was opened to release the heat and smoke. Directly across the hall, a second bedroom was located. Again, an oriented search was performed, locating a victim on the bed. Bauhof reported to Forror that he had located a victim and Forror announced an urgent radio message to Command.”

“They then closed the door and opened the window. Working together, the two picked the victim up and passed him out the window to an awaiting crew which included firefighter Wilson who immediately began resuscitation efforts. Once an available ambulance arrived from Sheffield Township, Wilson continued his resuscitation efforts with the Sheffield Township crew. During transport, Wilson provided advanced level care, saving the victim’s life.”

“Low on air, firefighters Forror and Bauhof exited the home, changed their cylinders, and again, the two re-entered the home to complete the primary search, continuing down the hallway past the room where the first victim was located. Further in the home, the second victim was located lying in the hallway. Command was again notified and the two men got the victim to the crew of Avon Lake that was directly behind them.

Chief Novak said the the Medal of Gallantry is awarded to a firefighter who, at great risk, has been instrumental in rescuing and saving another from possible death, or shows great initiative and capability. “Tonight, we recognize the selfless acts of valor and courage exhibited by these three heroes.”