LOWER MAKEFIELD >> Four Lower Makefield police officers who saved four people and two dogs from a burning building were recognized with an Outstanding Police Performance Award during an awards luncheon hosted by the Citizen’s Crime Commission of the Delaware Valley.
Each year, the commission honors law enforcement from across the Delaware Valley for performance above and beyond the call of duty. This year, many received valor, heroism, bravery awards and unit citations during the event.
The awards luncheon was emceed by 6ABC’s Rick Williams, the host of the Crime Fighters series, who shared the dramatic story of each case and announced the winners. The guest speaker was First Deputy Superintendent Anthony Riccio of the Chicago Police Department.
The Lower Makefield officers were recognized for actions taken on October 16, 2018 at 12:33 a.m. during a house fire at 1900 Yardley Road. Witnesses reported that there were visible flames coming from the windows of the home.
Officers Michael Fischbach and Timothy Lis arrived and observed flames coming from several second story windows. At that time the officers forcibly entered a side door to gain entrance into the home. Once inside they were met with poor visibility, difficulty breathing and flames coming from the porch roof.
Due to the hazardous conditions, the officers backed out and entered from a second side door. Once inside, the officers located a disoriented elderly man who advised them that there were three additional people in the home. The officers reported that other persons were still in the home and escorted the man outside.
The officers then located an elderly woman in poor physical condition in a side room. Officers carried the woman from the home to safety outside. Officers were also able to release two dogs into the back yard away from the fire.
At the same time Officers Fabrizio Catoni and Todd Hamski made entry through the front door. Both were met with heavy smoke as they yelled to alert other occupants. Each made their way upstairs through the smoke.
The officers located two additional people in a bedroom near the fire. Both were safely evacuated from the home.
In the meantime, the elderly man who was evacuated earlier by the other officers had re-entered the home and was located on the first floor. Catoni and Hamski again removed him from the home to a safe location.
“I am extremely proud of all the award recipients and especially honored that the commission chose four of Lower Makefield’s finest to receive Outstanding Police Performance,” said Chief Kenneth Coluzzi.
“The officers acted without regard to personal safety and exposed themselves to imminent danger to save human lives. Their performance exemplifies their commitment to the citizens of Lower Makefield and their professionalism as a Lower Makefield Police Officer,” said the chief.
According to Coluzzi, a member of the Citizens Crime Commission since 1988, the Crime Commission’s anonymous tip line (215-546-TIPS) has been directly responsible for assisting law enforcement agencies in solving murders and numerous other violent crimes, as well as locating and apprehending dangerous wanted criminals.