Home Fire News Fort Smith firefighters receive medal of valor for life-saving actions during structure...

Fort Smith firefighters receive medal of valor for life-saving actions during structure fire


Max Bryan

Times Record, Fort Smith, Ark.


Three firefighters with the Fort Smith Fire Department were recently honored for their life-saving actions in a recent structure fire.

Capt. Jesse Chandler and firefighters Avery Short and Heath Philpot with the Fire Department each received a medal of valor for reportedly saving the life of a woman and her dog in a structure fire this month. Fort Smith Fire Chief Phil Christensen pinned the three firefighters with the medal at the Fire Department’s Medal of Valor Awards Ceremony on Friday at the River Park Events Building.

“These guys did an awesome job,” Battalion Commander Skip Mathews said of Chandler, Short and Philpot.

Chandler, Short and Philpot reportedly responded to the fire at Relax Inn, 2301 Towson Ave., on Feb. 11 with six other units in the Fire Department. They engaged in an “all-hands rescue,” in which firefighters determine that a loss of life can be prevented by performing search and rescue.

Millard said that the motel room that the woman and her dog were inside of was “blacked out with smoke” during the fire. They successfully located the woman inside the bathroom of the room and took her to safety.

“The firefighters used their bodies as a shield to protect the victims as she and her dog were removed from intense fire conditions,” Millard said at the ceremony. “Because of their actions, they saved the life of her and her dog.”

“They got in there, they read the problem, they saw that someone needed rescue, and they got it done, just like they’re supposed to do,” Mathews said. “None of them go like clockwork, but this one did.”

At the ceremony, Millard called the three firefighters’ actions selfless, and commended them for their courageousness.

“That’s just what the Fort Smith Fire Department does,” Mathews said. “They get in there, and they get it done.”


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