Menomonie Fire Department
In the early morning hours of February 25, 2010, a fire occurred in a two-story, 6-plex in the city of Menomonie. The apartment building is student housing for the University of Wisconsin, Stout.
Within minutes of the call, firefighters arrived to find heavy black smoke coming out of the front of the building. As the first arriving firefighters pulled hoselines to attack the growing fire they were told by two of the residents from one of the apartments that their roommate was still inside. These same residents just moments earlier were alerted to the fire and were able to rescue themselves. But now precious minutes have passed and the conditions inside the building were growing worse and their roommate had not been seen outside.
Pipeman Pete Terry and Larry Zais from Engine 6 were on the nozzle moving into the front door. The smoke was pushing from below, the fire burning somewhere in the basement. They were told that the missing woman was upstairs, where the conditions were growing worse by the second. Knowing that searching with the hoseline would slow their efforts, they handed the line to another crew and then ascended the stairs to search for the victim.
Within minutes, they found the woman, Elizabeth, semi-conscious, lying on the floor. Together they carried her downstairs and outside where her immediate medical needs were cared for by firefighters from Engine 2. The Engine 2 crew then transported Elizabeth to Red Cedar Medical Center where she was treated for her injuries.
Firefighters Pete Terry and Larry Zais put themselves in a perilous position by searching without their hoseline, but the trust that their fellow firefighters would handle the fire while they went above it gave them the window of opportunity they needed. This gallant effort and exceptional dedication to duty in the highest tradition of firefighting resulted in a precious life saved.