2006-04-19 / Features

Two Firefighters Honored At Borough Cabinet

BY RICHARD GENTILVISO

Photo Dominick Totino Queens Borough President Helen Marshall honored two firefighters from Ladder 163 in Woodside at Borough Hall prior to the April meeting of the Borough Cabinet last Tuesday. Firefighters Terence Osborn and Michael Doda (r.) pulled a woman out of a burning apartment in Sunnyside in February. In January, the duo teamed up to rescue two unconscious occupants of a building in Maspeth. At left is Queens Borough Commander Robert Sweeney. Photo Dominick Totino Queens Borough President Helen Marshall honored two firefighters from Ladder 163 in Woodside at Borough Hall prior to the April meeting of the Borough Cabinet last Tuesday. Firefighters Terence Osborn and Michael Doda (r.) pulled a woman out of a burning apartment in Sunnyside in February. In January, the duo teamed up to rescue two unconscious occupants of a building in Maspeth. At left is Queens Borough Commander Robert Sweeney. New York City Firefighters Terence Osborn and Michael Doda wanted it known they were just part of the team. "We do things together," Doda said at a special presentation for the two by Borough President Helen Marshall last week.

As members of Ladder Company 163 in Woodside, Osborn and Doda were recognized for breaking into a locked, smoke-filled apartment to rescue a woman last February 21, doing so before water hoses were set up to douse the building's flames. It was the second heroic save made by the pair in a month, as they also rescued two unconscious people from a fire in Maspeth on January 23.

"Their actions, knocking down a door and entering a smoke-filled room, saved the life of Diana Garcia," Marshall said at a ceremony preceding the monthly Borough Cabinet meeting on April 11. "We really have to say a special thanks to a person who decides to go where everybody else is running away from."

Surrounded by family and firefighters from Ladder Company 163 and Engine Company 325, Osborn said, "Me and Mike are being honored here today, but we do everything as a group. Our job is based on teamwork."

"New York's Bravest always save the day," said Marshall, noting that firefighters had responded to a two-alarm blaze the previous day at the Metropolitan Transit Authority's LaGuardia Bus Depot at 85-01 24th Ave. in East Elmhurst and prevented a more serious situation.

The April 10 inferno, with flames reaching 200 and 300 feet high, erupted after a private contractor struck a gas line while digging along 87th Street and 23rd Avenue. The MTA recently took over the depot from Triboro Coach Corporation. No injuries were reported.

Assistant Fire Chief Robert Sweeney told Marshall, "It's a great honor. These guys do the job day in and day out, all 13,000."

In other business, a month-long tourism initiative will begin in May. "Discover Queens Month-Spring into Queens, May 2006" seeks to increase awareness of tourism opportunities in the borough, said Terri Osborne, director of culture and tourism for the borough.

With a special focus on the Web site www.discoverqueens.info, Osborne said the goal is to make Queens a "destination within New York City". Noting an annual flow of 13 million domestic and 4 million foreign visitors to the city, Osborne said, "We want them to visit Queens."

During the month-long celebration, there will be four separate weekend events. The first will be in the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park and Flushing area, the second will happen in Bayside/Douglaston, the third will be in Long Island City/Astoria and the fourth in Jamaica/Rockaway.

We're drawing people to attractions through discount offers that will only be redeemable on these weekends," said Michael Savino, a marketing consultant.

Opportunities to win prizes by answering historical questions about the borough on the Web site will also be a part of the promotion said Michelle Stoddart, director of marketing and tourism for the Queens Economic Development Corporation.

Discover Queens Month will have a kick-off event on April 27 in Manhattan, at which Marshall and numerous organizations representing Queens will be present. "We're taking [Discover Queens] to them," said Savino, referring to the borough across the East River.

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