Mayor Chris Beutler today presented the Mayor's Medallion to three Lincoln Electric System (LES) employees for their lifesaving response to an apartment fire December 15. The award was presented to line technicians Brent Foxhoven, Jamie Kraft and Mike Mullendore at the beginning of today's City Council meeting.
The team had completed a job in the area of 35th and Baldwin when they noticed smoke rising from a four-plex. Mullendore grabbed a fire extinguisher from the truck and called 911. Foxhoven and Kraft ran to the building and knocked on exterior windows while calling LES for permission to cut electricity to the building. When their efforts to alert residents failed, the three went inside and pounded on the door of the apartment where the fire originated. When the tenant opened the door, the crew saw flames coming from the fireplace.
Mullendore tried to put the flames out with the extinguisher but the fire had grown too large. They evacuated that tenant as well as a third-shift worker who was sleeping in the apartment above the fire. By that time, the fire had spread into the attic above that apartment and also was burning from the floor below.
In the apartment across the hall from the fire's source, a man holding two small children told them an infant was still in a bedroom. Mullendore removed his sweatshirt, placed it over the children's heads and instructed the man to cover his mouth. By this time, the smoke limited visibility to no more than one foot. With Kraft at the apartment's entrance calling out to him, Mullendore ran to the bedroom, found the baby, wrapped him in a blanket and ran back to the entrance. As they left the building, they were met by firefighters, and they told them where the fire started and that electricity to the building had been cut.
"It took only two minutes for firefighters to respond to the scene, but the quick thinking, the teamwork and the heroism of the LES crew in those two minutes allowed everyone to safely escape the fire," Mayor Beutler said.
The medallion, which depicts President Abraham Lincoln and Ponca Chief Standing Bear, is presented to visiting dignitaries and residents who have made exceptional contributions to the community.