For exceptional effort in saving a human life, Amherst police Sgt. Michael Rosebeck and Ptl. Brian Griffin have been awarded the Medal of Valor.
They were cheered by a huge crowd Monday that spilled out of city council chambers.
“What your husbands did that day was truly amazing,” police chief Joseph Kucirek told the officers’ wives. “I don’t know what it’s like to be on a movie set, but this was a surreal event and it was certainly no movie.”
The accolade stems from an Aug. 9 blaze at the Pinecrest Apartments on Middle Ridge Road, where flames and smoke trapped residents inside.
When Kucirek arrived on the scene, he saw the second and third floors completely engulfed — and Griffin and Rosebeck carrying an elderly woman out between them in what’s called a “two-handed seat” position. Crossing a parking lot filled with chokingly thick smoke, they set her down.
Sgt. Mike Murphy said the officers had run into the burning building, ventured to a second floor unit, and saved the woman’s life.
It took about 40 minutes for firefighters from Amherst, South Amherst, Vermilion, and Elyria Township to douse the flames. None of the residents were seriously injured but one firefighter was treated at the hospital for heat exposure.
Griffin is a new patrolman, on the Amherst force for nearly a year. Rosebeck, a veteran of 16 years,
previously earned the Medal of Valor for heroic actions in another fire.
That incident happened July 7, 2002, when Rosebeck was working a night shift. Kucirek said what at first was thought to be a bonfire turned out to be a fully-involved house fire.
A young Rosebeck knocked on the door and told the occupants to flee while he went inside to rescue a child.
Two other Amherst police officers — Christopher Alten and Troy Donaldson — have also earned the Medal of Valor. Their honors were linked to a Christmas 2011 fire rescue at a Cooper Foster Park Road home.
Kucirek was proud Monday giving Rosebeck and Griffin the awards, along with framed photos of the Pinecrest inferno.
“I sleep well at night knowing you’re out there doing what you do,” he told his men.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.
Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times Ptl. Brian Griffin and Sgt. Michael Rosebeck were awarded Monday for their actions this summer that saved the life of a Pinecrest Apartments resident.
Jonathan Delozier | Amherst News-Times Fire damage was limited to two apartments but smoke and water damage affected the entire building. A dividing wall most likely helped to limit the scope of the fire, according to Amherst fire chief Greg Knoll.