Firefighter receives award for lifesaving rescue

By: Cari DeLamielleure-Scott | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published August 27, 2015


WEST BLOOMFIELD — In just two minutes, West Bloomfield firefighter/paramedic Josh Lyon changed a woman’s life forever.

The West Bloomfield Fire Department received a call from a resident in the 5200 block of Cedarhurst Drive at 1:34 a.m. June 26. The woman, who is in her 50s, told dispatchers that there was a fire in the house and that she was trapped in the master bedroom.

The first fire truck arrived at 1:40 a.m., and the woman was rescued from her home at 1:42 a.m.

West Bloomfield police officer Jeffery Maples was the first person on the scene. Maples said in a video presentation at the West Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees’ Aug. 17 meeting that smoke was coming from the back of the house and he could hear a banging noise, which was the woman pounding on the bedroom window.

According to Fire Chief Greg Flynn, the fire was on the first floor, below the woman’s bedroom. As smoke filled the hallway and began seeping under her bedroom door, she was unable to exit the room.

“Most of the time, our residents are standing in the driveway when we get there. This time, she couldn’t. The fire blocked her egress,” Flynn said.

Police officers had to break the woman’s window with lumber found in the yard, Flynn added.

Lyon retrieved a ladder, and “he didn’t even wait for a second. Once the ladder hit the ground, he was up there,” Maples said in the video presentation.

The woman was then taken to a local hospital for care.

Lyon said the smoke made it difficult to even see the woman in the window, and because the West Bloomfield Police Department arrived to the scene quickly, knocked out the windows and directed the Fire Department to the woman, time wasn’t wasted on retrieving the resident.

At the West Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees meeting, Lyon was presented with  the Meritorious Service Award for performing a lifesaving rescue.

“Fire personnel who distinguish themselves by an act within the realm of duty that involves a risk to the life of an employee, but is performed under circumstances described as ‘less than hazardous’ than those outlined for the Medal of Honor or the Medal of Valor, are eligible to be awarded the Meritorious Service Award,” Flynn said in an email.

The award consists of a uniform medal, a ribbon, a letter of commendation and a proclamation by the Board of Trustees. Those who are awarded multiple times will receive a silver star to pin on the ribbon for each additional award.

“What (Lyon) did does represent everything that we train and prepare for in the fire service, which is saving lives. We save lives and save property. Clearly, the most important of the two are the lives, and Josh did that,” Flynn said.

Though no one person completes a rescue alone, Lyon was the one who executed the physical rescue of the woman, Flynn said.

“That highlights the excellence and professionalism we strive for at the West Bloomfield Fire Department,” Flynn said.

Lyon, who has been with the Fire Department for eight years, said it means a lot to him to receive the award.

“We do a lot of stuff every day, and it’s nice to be recognized once in a while,” Lyon said. “I credit a lot to our department and the training. When you get in the moment, your instincts take over.”