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Six volunteer firefighters in South Kingstown were honored Monday for their work saving a man and his dog from a building fire.
The Union Fire District firefighters responded to the fire on Curtis Corner Road March 20 shortly after midnight.
Chief Steven Pinch awarded Capt. Tyler Parks and Lt. Eric Holmander with Heroic Action Medals, the highest honor anyone has received within the department.
Pinch described the moments the two men ran into the building after learning a person was trapped inside.
“I want everyone to know at this point, it was an extremely dangerous environment, visibility was near zero, conditions were at a point where a victim would not survive much longer,” explained Pinch.
A humble Parks told NBC 10 News he remembered the call well. What started as a routine call, became increasingly important when he learned of the person inside.
“He was off the bed, so he was a little difficult to find and it was almost near blackout,” explained Parks.
The University of Rhode Island alumnus joined the volunteer fire department eight years ago as a senior at South Kingstown High School. By day, he does cybersecurity for the Department of Defense, but joins other men with a mission to serve their town at night.
“We train for this every day, so it’s something to actually put into action and especially effects somebody’s life,” said Parks.
Four other volunteer firefighters from the engine received distinguished service medals. Pinch said Capt. Andrew Duckworth and Matt Viner provided support, Lt. Dan Kiely was the pump operator and Deputy Chief Anthony Cinquegrana was the command officer.
“I think any truck that would have pulled in their first would have been in that spot, but it was them that night and they did a great job, so we’re proud of them,” said Pinch.
Pinch said they also revised the schedule for volunteers, so someone is at the firehouse during the day and night. He said he believes that is the reason the team was able to respond so quickly and get the man out.
All of the volunteers were also recognized by the state Senate and House of Representatives.
The apartment unit itself remains boarded up but fire officials said the man rescued has recovered from his injuries.