2016-06-15 / Front Page

Dutch Kills Bravest Honored For Thanksgiving Rescue

By Liz Goff

One of Dutch Kills’ Bravest was honored at the FDNY Medal Day Ceremony on June 1, after he put his life in danger to rescue a woman trapped in an out-of-control blaze at an Astoria apartment building on Thanksgiving Eve of 2015.

Firefighter Christopher Polesovsky was performing an inspection with fellow firefighters from Ladder Co. 116 at about 11 a.m. on November 25, when they received a call of a fire in progress at an apartment building located around the corner, at 31-18 35th Street, fire officials said.

Firefighters arrived at the scene within minutes to find residents climbing down fire escapes to flee the blaze that erupted in a second-floor apartment and quickly spread to the third floor.

In most cases, engine companies are able to run hoses to attack a fire before rescue efforts begin, fire officials said. But firefighters from Ladder 116 raced into the blackened, smoky building to search for the victim before an engine company arrived to pour water on the flames.  
Polesovsky, part of the unit’s Forced Entry Team, busted down the lobby door and raced to the second floor with Lt. Michael DeCollibus and Firefighter Daniel Lawlor, facing severe heat and smoke conditions as they made their way to the apartment.

Polesovsky and DeCollibus managed to force the apartment door open slightly, but found the door blocked by piles of debris.

Polesovsky climbed into the rubble-strewn apartment battling zero visibility, to find the unresponsive woman who had collapsed in a bedroom, fire officials said.

With three rooms in the apartment burning out of control and no time to spare, Polesovsky dragged the woman through the debris to the apartment door, where Lawlor helped carry her to a safe stairway.

Polesovsky returned to the apartment to complete a search for additional victims, as smoke and flames quickly spread to the top of the five-story building, fire officials said.

The unconscious woman was taken to a nearby hospital where she was treated for smoke inhalation and minor injuries, fire officials said. Three other residents suffered minor injuries and were treated at the scene.

Polesovsky was awarded the FDNY Emerald Society Medal for Distinguished Service in the Line of Duty at the annual awards ceremony in Manhattan.

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