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Firefighter Peter Demontreux (New York City Fire Department, NY)

Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor

On August 30, 2010, Firefighter Peter Demontreux's unit responded to a fire in a 4 story brownstone. On arrival they encountered heavy fire at the front door and up the stairway to the third floor preventing entry until a hoseline was put in place.

Instead of waiting for a hoseline, Firefighter Demontreux climbed an aerial ladder to a third floor window. There he encountered a civilian who stated that his friend was still trapped inside the burning apartment. After assisting the civilian onto the ladder, Firefighter Demontreux immediately entered the apartment to conduct a search. He located the victim deep within the apartment.

In the ensuing minutes, Firefighter Demontreux executed one of the most remarkable rescues ever witnessed. As he assisted the victim through the apartment, the entire third floor suddenly exploded into flames setting both rescuer and victim ablaze. According to the on-scene Battalion Chief's report, Firefighter Demontreux, now on fire, made the split second decision that he would not leave victim behind. After reaching the window, Firefighter Demontreux insured the victim was safely on the aerial ladder before diving out himself.

Both men were extinguished by a hoseline and though badly burned- the civilian victim received burns over 50% of his body- both survived. Firefighter Demontreux's protective equipment was subsequently tested and found to have been subjected to temperatures in excess of 1,000 degrees.

Date Published: September 9, 2020