Police officers, firefighters and families packed Council Chambers of Hartley Dodge Memorial on Monday night to recognize two firefighters, a police officer and a resident who were involved in two fire rescues in Madison over the past month.
Madison firefighters James Blair and Troy Pehowic received the Mayor's Award—given for heroic effort on behalf of the residents of Madison—for entering a burning multi-family home on Park Avenue and bringing a woman and her dog to safety.
Madison Police Officer James Cavezza was given the Mayor's Award for starting a series of phone calls that ultimately led him to find out someone was on the second floor of the building.
The woman, 20-year-old Shannon Cadogan, was present at the ceremony and was given a bouquet of roses.
Robert Potter received the Mayor's Award for running a ladder to a neighbor's home on Crestwood Drive. The home was burning after it was rocked by an explosion at the end of October as Superstorm Sandy approached. Potter helped get the occupants out of the house.
In presenting the awards, Mayor Bob Conley said Cavezza made sure a life was saved.
"Through a series of phone calls, James Cavezza found out there was a woman on the second floor, not able get out, and made sure that rescue help was on the way," Conley said.
Conley said Blair and Pehowic risked their lives to save someone else.
"Without thinking, you went in there and saved someones life," he said.
Blair said in an interview he and Pehowic were setting up hoses and just about to run them to the basement, where the fire is believed to have started, when they got word that someone was upstairs. Wearing air packs, but unable to see in the smoke, they went upstairs on their hands and knees, and found Cadogan and her dog, Roxy. Pehowic grabbed the dog and they all made it downstairs safely.
Blair said his firefighter training kicked in without thinking, and he was surprised and honored by recognition. He said he is glad everybody is OK, and all of the first responders worked together.
Conley said Potter ran the ladder to the second floor and effected rescue to get everyone to safety.
Outside of the rescue, the mayor said Blair once helped dig out his wife after she got stuck in a snowbank.
And he had Pehowic for sports classes at the YMCA.
"I taught sportsmanship, but I know I didn't teach you about going to risk your life to save someone else's life," he said.
The family that relied on the neighbor's ladder to get to safety, the Baumgartners, also was given a bouquet of roses.