Cicero honors firefighters who saved lives at 50th Court Apartment fire
Town President Larry Dominick and Cicero Fire Chief Dominick Buscemi this week honored the firefighters who successfully put out a fire that severely damaged a large apartment building at 1637 50th Court on August 19, 2018 saving the lives of dozens of residents and their pets.
Buscemi presented Life Saving Awards to three Firefighters and also to the members of the crew of Fire Truck #2, Lt. John Sochacki, Engineer Ken Pereyra and firefighter Joe Vertin during the Town of Cicero’s regularly scheduled board meeting held on Tuesday Sept. 25, 2018.
Arriving at the fire scene, firefighters reported that heavy smoke and large flames were billowing from the three-story building, and building residents were reporting that many other residents including pets were in the building. The building had 20 apartments and 63 residents, but not all had left the building during the fire.
Buscemi read from the report filed by Pereyra in which he led firefighters into the building to search for individuals who were reportedly trapped on the 3rd floor.
“Because of the actions and bravery of these firefighters, many lives were saved and the fire was extinguished also saving the building itself,” Buscemi said noting that the fight in saving a large apartment building like the one at 1637 50th Court often depended on preventing the fire from reaching the building’s roof.
“It was very dramatic. The firemen were able to stop the fire from reaching the roof. All of the residents were safely evacuated. What could have been a very tragic event with lives being lost and the building being completely destroyed was prevented and saved by the fast action and professionalism of all of the members of the Cicero Fire Department who responded to the fire.”
Buscemi said that firefighters were constantly alert for any indication of people being in the building, noting that Lt. Sochacki noticed the face of a male resident peering through a window on the 3rd floor that was blanketed by smoke.
“Lt. Sochacki told the crew of Truck 2 that they were going to the 3rd floor to get the man out and to also search for any other individuals who might be in the building,” Buscemi said.
Buscemi said that firefighters had to climb the stairs in the fire-consumed building and make their way through the fire and smoke to the 3rd floor where the found the man and brought him out safely and also heard the screams of another female resident in another apartment in the building.
“Lt. Sochacki was able to find the woman and bring her down to the first floor out of the fire and smoke to learn that her husband was still upstairs. Sochacki went back into the building and found the husband and brought him out, too,” Buscemi recounted for the board members.
President Dominick praised the firefighters saying, “I have always said that the Town of Cicero has the best Fire Department and the best Police Department. They are highly trained and they are smart and they are brave.”
The honors for the firefighters were approved by President Dominick and the board members including Clerk Maria Punzo-Arias, Supervisor Joe Virruso, Collector Fran Reitz, Assessor Emilio Cundari and by Trustees Larry Banks, Victor Garcia, Bob Porod and John Cava.
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