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Kent Fire Officer Honored for Saving Firefighter from Burning House

Acting Kent Fire Capt. Bill Myers receives commendation, proclamation for pulling injured firefighter from house fire

If not for Kent Fire Lt. Bill Myers, firefighter Bryan Pengal's head-first fall into a burning basement might have turned out much worse.

Kent Fire Chief Dave Manthey and members of Kent City Council recognized Myers Wednesday for helping pull Pengal out of a house fire that destroyed a house owned by Kent State University on South Lincoln Street last month.

Myers, then an acting captain, and Pengal were among the first crew to respond to the fire at 128 S. Lincoln St. at about 5:30 a.m. Nov. 10.

Manthey said both men advanced into the house with a hose line to find the base of the fire and extinguish it.

"As they made their way through the smoke they did not see a section of the floor in front of them was missing," Manthey said.

Pengal fell head first 7 feet into the basement of the house, which was on fire and filled with burning debris. Myers could see Pengal was disoriented and hindered by fallen debris.

"That’s when the call went out," Manthey said. "Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! Firefighter down. Acting Capt. Myers without hesitation jumped into the hole. (His) quick action helped avert what could have been a tragic situation."

Myers, who had to fight through debris, helped Pengal to a stairwell where other firefighters pulled him from the house. Then Myers turned around, grabbed the hose line and put out the fire, Manthey said. Pengal was treated for minor injuries.

Myers received a commendation from the fire chief and a proclamation from Kent Mayor Jerry Fiala Wednesday in honor of his bravery.

He said the recognition proved humbling.

"What I see myself doing there was something that any one of these guys that you see over there would have done as well," Myers said, referring to other members of the fire department at the meeting. "I don’t see my actions as that special just because any one of us would have done the same thing."

The house, which stood vacant, was almost completely destroyed by the fire. Kent State planned to demolish the house as part of the Esplanade extension and razed the remains shortly after the fire.

Members of Myers' immediate and extended family attended Wednesday to see him receive the commendation, which was followed by a standing ovation.

"Nobody knows the risks more than our families," Manthey said.

Char December 20, 2012 at 02:04 PM
You deserve the commendation and so much more! All of you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you do each and every day. May you and yours have a Merry Christmas and a very safe, happy New Year! Thank you!
Terry December 20, 2012 at 07:43 PM
Truly deserving of the recognition you received. Way to go, Bill!
Ann December 20, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Great job, Bill! We are proud of you!!!
Margaret Garmon December 20, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Glad to live in Kent, knowing we have such fine firefighters. Thanks Bill - and nice photo with your family!
Confederate American December 20, 2012 at 11:19 PM
We DO have the best of the best when it comes to fire department! They do stuff like this all the time but only get recognized but a few
Leo December 20, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Nice job Bill! You should be very proud of all the work you do with the Kent Fire Dept.
Ohio for Obama December 21, 2012 at 03:01 AM
I vote democratic to protect pensions for people like you! Keep up the great work.
Republicans for Fire Fighters December 21, 2012 at 02:41 PM
I vote republican to protect pensions for people like you! Keep up the great work Bill!

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