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Alumni Association

Outstanding Service Awards

2012 Outstanding Firefighter Award
Toledo Fire And Rescue Department

Mike Posadny, Captain
Kamal Parker, Firefighter
Larry Potts, Firefighter
Melanie Harris, Firefighter

Mike Benadum, Lieutenant
James Sherman, Firefighter
Rick Backus, Firefighter

On February 14, 2011, Engine 4 Company responded to a fire on Hilton St. at 12:38 a.m. While on the second floor, Firefighters James White and Mike Werner were low on air and exited the building while Captain Posadny, Firefighter Parker and the rest of the crew remained on the second floor to check for hotspots.

Toledo Fire And Rescue Department
Click to enlarge.

Suddenly, visibility went from good to zero with high heat and firefighters on the second floor were trapped. Captain Posadny noticed some heat reduction near the interior stairs and decided to try to make it down. After successfully navigating the stairs and exited through a window, he called for his crew to follow. Firefighter Parker made it out, but the rest of his crew were separated and did not follow.

With his low air alarm ringing, Captain Posadny re-entered the structure to search for the missing crew and called for a RIT/MAY DAY. He established voice contact with his crew member. Unaware that a crew member was missing, but knowing something was terribly wrong, Firefighter Parker re-entered the structure to find Captain Posadny.

At this point, Firefighters James Sherman, Larry Potts, Rick Backus and Melanie Harris and Lieutenant Mike Benadum from Engine 11 entered the structure. They headed up the stairwell, when a large fireball blew over their heads, cutting off access to the second floor. Under Lieutenant Benadumís direction, the crew worked to force the fire back and off the stairwell long enough for the members of Engine 4 to exit. Despite an evacuation order, Lieutenant Benadum and the other members of Engine 11 remained in place protecting the only means of escape.

Firefighter Parker located the missing crew member and everyone made it out of the building safely. When Captain Posadny checked his air bottle gauge after exiting the building, it read zero.

Captain Michael Posadny and Firefighter Kamal Parker put their own lives at risk to find their separated crew member, while Lieutenant Mike Benadum and Firefighters James Sherman, Larry Potts, Rick Backus and Melanie Harris ignored the danger to themselves to ensure the safety and survival of Captain Posadny and Firefighter Parker.

~ Nominated by the Toledo Fire and Rescue Department
Medal Ceremony Committee


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