Marc Celetti, Fire Chief of the City of Lauderhill has nominated the crew of Engine 57; Lieutenant Jamal Clarke, Driver/Engineer Lexcy Belfon and Firefighter Daniel Speerin to be awarded: “The Fire Chief’s Association Award of Broward County,” for their acts of bravery, critical decision making and preventative actions that ensured civilian and firefighter safety.
April 10, 2017 incident
The nomination relates to an incident on April 10, 2017 when the city’s Fire Engine 57 responded to a fire alarm at 2551 NW 41 Ave., in Lauderhill. When the crew arrived they saw flames coming from the fourth floor of the building. The crew of Engine 57 was informed people were trapped on the “C” side of the structure.
Mother about to drop kids from 4th floor
As Engine 57 made its way to the “C” side, the crew witnessed a mother hanging over the edge of a balcony railing of the 4th floor, about to drop her 4 and 5 year-old children to bystanders at the bottom of the building who had mattresses and chair cushions to catch them.
With the mother clutching the balcony railing with one hand and holding her 4 year-old child with the other hand, the Officer from Engine 57 feverishly tried to persuade the mother to not throw her child off the 4th floor and return to the balcony. With understandable fear, the mothers’ only reaction was one of panic and fright and all directives and plea from the Officer was ignored.
Engine 57 crew takes control
Engine 57’s officer, however, took control quickly of the escalating scene. Although the Officer didn’t have a ladder tall enough to reach to the 4th floor, a 24 foot extension ladder was set up which reached a few rungs above the third floor balcony. The Officer out of reach and standing on the very top of the ladder, was able to speak to and calm the mother, convincing her to return to the safety of the balcony landing with her children. The officer remained at the top of the ladder and kept his focus on the family to be calm until Engine 57’s Driver/Engineer and Firefighter arrived on scene. A 35-foot extension ladder was retrieved from the first arriving ladder company and was quickly set up for rescue as flames from the building increased. Engine 57’s Firefighter and Officer then took turns and climbed up to the fourth floor and safely brought down the two children and two adults to safety. Immediately after the rescue of the family, the crew of Engine 57 did not delay or hesitate, they continued assisting with the search and rescue efforts for additional victims and fire attack of the fire that would eventually go to a third alarm response.
The Fire Chief said, based on the action of the crew of Engine 57, “It is with great honor and pride” that he nominates them for the award.