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Wed August 17, 2011
Community honors crew's life-saving efforts
By Scott Harvey
Commerce – Six Commerce emergency responders are honored for bravery in a July 7 structure fire that saved the life of a woman.
Lt. Robbie Speight, Firefighters Tom Spradling and Jeremy Littlefield, Assistant Police Chief Steve Harrison and Officers Marcus Cantera and Mark Clark received a warm reception during Tuesday's City Council meeting.
The fire ignited at a residence at 6249 Highway 50.
"While we were responding we had a report that there was a person running out and then back inside the house," said Commerce Fire Chief Brian McNevin." So they sent some PD units out there to see if that was the case and to try and keep that person from doing that. When they got there they did observe that person run back into the house."
Working in extremely difficult and rapidly deteriorating conditions, included 100 degree heat, crews worked to locate and remove the woman, who suffered moderate smoke inhalation and second degree burns. As CFD personnel were inside attempting to locate the victim, CPD Assistant Chief Harrison, Officers Cantera and Clark remained at the door waiting for CFD personnel to come out and assisted them as necessary.
"That's what we do. Both the police and the fire departments," added McNevin. "We're here to protect public safety for our citizens and we will do whatever it takes. It sounds like a clich but that's what these people love."
The six officials were presented with the Certificate of Commendation and Ribbons of Valor and Life Saving.
Commerce Firefighters Tom Spradling and Jeremy Littlefield were also honored for their efforts in the drowning incident of nine-year-old Diamond Bronston on July 10. They were given a Commendation and a Ribbon of Valor for their efforts on that very difficult day. Firefighter Littlefield went above and beyond the call of duty at the incident by cutting through the fence, jumping into the City Pool and diving into 13 feet of water without life saving equipment in an attempt to rescue the victim.
Chief McNevin said, "He [Littlefield] was kind of winded after trying to break through the gate and make a hole big enough to crawl through and then ran to the side of the pool and without hesitation he dove into the pool. He almost made it but had to come up for air because he was winded. He came up and got a good breath of air and then went back down and got a hold of her and brought her to the surface."
Once out of the water, personnel started life saving measures. The youth had reportedly jumped the fence to swim in the pool while the facility was closed.