GLOVERSVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Four members of the Gloversville Police Department were presented with awards for rescuing people from a devastating fire in October.
The four officers received a standing ovation on Tuesday. They risked their lives to save others when a fire roared through a Grand Street home on October 20.
Officer Malinda Palmer saw the glow of the flames while out on patrol. Her mind was racing as she was the first to run towards the blaze.
“Just how quick that house went up; it was within seconds,” she recalled.
She and Officer Ronald Rue helped one of the victims out as smoke billowed from the home. The man was covered in soot.
“He was absolutely terrified that his mother was inside,” Rue said.
A charred building is all that remains of the home. The fire chief said an overloaded power strip sparked the fire. Two people were airlifted to the Syracuse burn unit for treatment.
One of the victims, an elderly woman, was trapped inside. Officer William Christman ran into the burning building to find her.
“I was able to feel one of her legs, and as soon as I did, I stood up and grabbed a hold of her,” he said.
Sgt. Robert Brown was right behind him.
“I could hear her making sounds as though she was in pain, so I was concerned for that and was trying to reassure her,” he said.
All four victims survived because of several first responders from the city and county. Each was honored on Tuesday for jumping into action without hesitation.
Officers Palmer and Rue received the Lifesaving Award. Officer Christman and Sgt. Brown received the Lifesaving Award and Medal of Honor. All four received a certificate for their actions of bravery from Sen. Jim Tedisco.
“Preservation of human life. That’s what’s important,” Christman said. “All else goes on the back burner.”
The officers said they did what any member of the Gloversville Police Department would do. They have not talked to the victims since, but they hope they are recovering well in a new home.
The city also recognized the distinguished service of Fulton County EMS members, Johnstown firefighters and the Gloversville Fire Department.