When Easton Fire Captain James Walsh and Firefighter Rick Salve arrived at the Elise Circle senior housing complex two Fridays ago, they knew an immediate response could mean the difference between life and death.
A neighbor informed the firefighters that someone was still inside one of the smoke-filled apartments.
"They began an immediate search for the victim in an extremely dangerous atmosphere," Fire Chief told Selectmen Monday. "Without question they saved the victim's life."
The victim, an elderly resident of Elise Circle's Building Six, who was found unconscious in the apartment, by a West Bridgewater ambulance. He was later transported to Massachusetts General Hospital and has been able to recover.
"Its my understanding that he is doing very, very well," Stone said. "Once the repairs are made to his apartment he’ll be able to return."
Salve and Walsh were recognized by Stone and the Board of Selectmen at the beginning of Monday's Board of Selectmen meeting. Many of the other firefighters who arrived on the scene attended the meeting as well.
Stone said the firefighters used thermal imaging cameras to find their way through the smoke and find the victim lying in the kitchen. They carried him out to the front lawn. The fire occurred in Unit 63 in Building Six - a two-story, eight unit apartment complex. The cause of the fire, which caused damage to the victim's apartment and some smoke damage to the apartment above, is under investigation by the State Fire Marshal.
No firefighters or other residents were injured in the fire.
"Its such a compelling story and its so tough to think of going into that smoke and dragging him out," Board of Selectmen Chair Colleen Corona said. "I just can’t even imagine."
"Great job," added Town Administrator David Colton. "The town relies on you all day and every night to keep everyone safe and you do a great job."
Stone, who is retiring at the end of this month, said that while the annual "Firefighter of the Year" ceremony had recently passed in Worcester, he hopes his department will be honored at the ceremony next year.
"I’d like to thank everyone for appreciating what we do," Walsh said.