Fire Department Lieutenant John Rich was on his way to work, stopping at Dun-kin Donuts on May 24, 2018 when he drove past the corner of Pleasant and Palmyra streets he noticed smoke coming from a house. It was around 6:15 a.m.
As he approached the house he heard screams for help coming from the first floor.
Tuesday night in front of the town council Rich was pinned with the Lifesaving Commendation bar.
Rich entered the house with very heavy smoke and lo-cated two people and led them to safety. Rich even rescued small dog from behind the couch on his second time in.
Rich was then told there was another man in the build-ing, Pedro Cordano. The two met each other on the staircase. Rich then dialed 911 to report the fire.
It was a fully-engulfed cellar fire.
“That day I was completely asleep and not aware of the fire,” Cordano said. “He went door to door pounding and screaming. I have no words to say thank you. Thank you to the Winthrop Fire Department and the great personnel.”
Rich said it was the smoke detectors that saved every-one in the house.
“After the excitement of the morning Lt. Rich did show up for work,” joked Fire Chief Paul Flanagan.
Last January when it was below zero Rich worked to pump out numerous basements.
He was appointed to the fire department in Sept. 1986, and became Lieutenant in 2001