HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Multiple Henrico firefighters and one communications dispatcher were recognized for their actions going “above and beyond the call of duty” for their response to a dangerous apartment fire in October, according to the county.

Just after midnight on Thursday, Oct. 21, a woman called 911 saying she was trapped in her burning apartment near West Broad Street and Tuckernuck Road.

The emergency communications dispatcher calmly talked to the caller and told her to move away from the flames into the bathroom, according to Henrico County.

The dispatcher stayed on the phone with the woman who was having trouble breathing. Eventually, the woman became unresponsive.

Photos by Henrico County

Moments later, Henrico firefighters were able to reach the burning building that had heavy flames coming from the front and roof.

The crews suppressed the flames from the exterior of the building before going inside. Firefighters searched for the caller and found her in the bathroom, where she was told to go by the dispatcher.

The crew successfully removed the woman from the building just 14 minutes after she called 911, the county said.

A doctor at VCU Medical Center said the fire crew’s response speed gave the woman a chance of recovering and surviving.

“It’s our opinion that she was most likely literally seconds away from a very different outcome,” Dr. Jeffery Fergusson said. “Amazing job by all personnel involved in her rescue and care.”

The Henrico County Police communications dispatcher and the 19 members of Henrico Fire involved with the fire were recognized with the Henrico County Manager’s Medial of Honor at the Board of Supervisors meeting on November 9.

“Team, your dedication to this community and your selfless service preserved not just one, but many, lives. I can think of no greater action,” said Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas.

Photos by Henrico County

The 20 members of the county recognized for their efforts were the following:

  • Firefighter Amine Abidi
  • Firefighter Atom Amodeo
  • Firefighter Brandon Coates
  • Firefighter Donald Coles
  • Fire Captain Daniel Cramer
  • Battalion Chief Vernon Crumpler
  • Firefighter Charles Elkins
  • Firefighter Luke Gill
  • Fire Captain Bryce Grissom
  • Firefighter Sean Jones
  • Firefighter Joseph Middleton
  • Lieutenant David Mylum
  • Firefighter Marshall Nelson
  • Firefighter Matthew O’Donnell
  • Firefighter Daniel Reed
  • Firefighter Kevin Sinh
  • Fire Captain Kenny Ray Stone
  • Lieutenant Ryan Warinner
  • Firefighter Joshua Windom
  • Communications Supervisor Teri Wootton
Photos by Henrico County