MONROE – Firefighters Stan Sikora and Rob Meyer of Monroe Township Fire District No. 3 said they were just “doing their jobs” when they saved the lives of an elderly couple and their pet dog while responding to an apartment at the Roosmoor senior community on a report of a kitchen fire in December.
For their heroism and bravery, Sikora, who has been with the fire department for 19 years, and Meyer, who has been with the department for 14 years, were honored by the Professional Firefighters Association NJ last week at the Gramercy at Lakeside Manor in Hazlet, and in May will be honored by the Middlesex 200 Club at the Pines Manor in Edison.
Sikora and Meyer said they didn’t expect to get anything for their actions. Sikora said the fire call in December was what they do on any given day. Meyer said all they could ask for is a positive outcome, which is what they got that day.
The firefighters also were cited by the Board of Fire Commissioners of Fire District No. 3 and the awards committee for a commendation.
Emergency personnel were dispatched at 10:06 a.m. on Dec. 30, 2018. While in-route police dispatch notified all units responding that the caller stated he and his wife were trapped and trying to get out of the one-story wood frame multi-family dwelling on Nantucket Way, according to Peter J. Gasiorowski, chief administrator of District No. 3.
The first arriving unit arrived within minutes. Lt. Wayne Lyons, company commander of District No. 3, recognized there was an immediate life safety issue. Lyons directed Sikora and Meyer to begin a primary search for the victims.
Sikora and Meyer had to force entry into the home and were met with a heavy smoke condition with zero to no visibility. Without the aid of a hose line Meyer and Sikora began searching for both victims. Meyer heard a female voice through the dense smoke calling out for help. He then passed the fire in the kitchen area and located the female victim and removed the 91-year-old occupant again, passing the fire to get out of the residence which was the only escape route, Gasiorowski said.
Simultaneously, Sikora, during his search in zero visibility, located the second occupant, a 93-year-old male. The second occupant was wheelchair bound and trapped in the back of the living room area. Sikora passed the fire in the kitchen, located the occupant and dragged the occupant – passing the fire again – out of the residence.
Once outside of the residence, both victims were treated and transported to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick.
During fire suppression operations, Meyer and Sikora re-entered the residence to search for the family pet. They located and removed the dog and once outside they administered oxygen to the dog via a pet oxygen mask, Gasiorowski said.