Aurora firefighters honored for rescue of woman from burning home
By Stephanie Lulay firstname.lastname@example.org October 23, 2012 2:18PM
Aurora Firefighters of the Year award recipients Lieutenant Brandon Matson and Private Eric Calkins
Updated: November 25, 2012 11:29AM
AURORA — Their efforts to rescue a woman from a burning house earned honors Tuesday for a pair of Aurora firefighters.
Aurora Fire Department Lt. Brandon Matson and Pvt. Eric Calkins were named Firefighters of the Year at the Exchange Club of Aurora’s annual awards luncheon at Gaslite Manor.
On July 26, 2012, Matson and Calkins responded to a house fire on the city’s East Side. Upon arrival, they were advised there was a woman trapped in one of the bedrooms.
As fire suppression was initiated, and despite worsening heat and smoke conditions, Matson and Calkins entered the home to rescue the woman, who was trapped in a cable between a dresser and a bed.
“Through the use of brute strength, (Matson and Calkins) were able to move this patient to and through the bedroom window,” as flames prevented them from getting her out the front door, said Assistant Fire Chief Tom Greiner.
“These actions saved the life of the victim,” Greiner said. “Their acts of courage truly show their commitment and dedication to the community and citizens they serve.”
Matson joined the Aurora Fire Department in August 2000 and has been a paramedic since January 2001. Matson was promoted to lieutenant in January 2010, and also serves as an arson investigator.
Calkins joined the department in March 1997.
The ceremony’s keynote speaker, retired AFD Capt. Ray Pfeiffer, said fire service is not so much a career choice as it is a calling. Pfeiffer was nominated for Firefighter of the Year in 2003 for raising $25,000 for the families of firefighters who were victim to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He created and sold a watercolor painting dedicated to the fallen firefighters.
“Even after promotions, I still was proud to call myself a firefighter first,” Pfeiffer said.
Several other firefighters were also nominated for this year’s award.
Battalion Chief Timothy Pogue, Pvt. Dwayne Love and Pvt. John Ross were nominated as part of the Fire Department’s Technical Rescue Team for rescuing a person trapped inside a sand hopper at a concrete plant on Feb. 6. Pogue was named Firefighter of the Year in 2000 and 2001.
Lt. Robert Warren, Pvt. Jason Larson and paramedics Ray Torres, John Bonior and Steve Matthias were nominated for performing lifesaving CPR on a victim at an accident on Farnsworth Avenue and Bilter Road on Aug. 18.
Lt. Steve Kish, paramedic Matt Anslow, paramedic Corey Fryer, Pvt. Joshua Murray and Pvt. Mark Long were nominated for saving a 55-year-old woman after she suffered a serious heart attack on Nov. 7. Because of the aggressive treatment the firefighters performed, the woman had almost no damage to her heart muscle.