11 Heroes are Honored for Saving a Family From Silent Killer

SI Advance - December 20, 2006

by JOHN ANNESE


ADVANCE STAFF WRITER

Three months ago, the firefighters of Engine Co. 153 and Ladder Co. 77 broke down a door in Clifton and saved the lives of an 11-year-old girl and two adults who had nearly succumbed to carbon monoxide fumes.

Yesterday, all 11 men were lauded as heroes, and named the Advance's Firefighters of the Month.

"Everyone lived, and if it wasn't for these two companies, it would have been a different story," said Chief Michael Feminella of the 21st Battalion in Rosebank during a ceremony in the Broad Street fire station that houses both companies.

The incident unfolded at 3:30 a.m. Sept. 27 -- the two companies were responding to reports of a carbon monoxide leak at 80 Longpond Rd.

When they got there, a resident at that address told the firefighters that a car was running in the garage next door, at 82 Longpond.

The members of Ladder 77 forced their way into the garage and the adjoining townhouse, where they found 11-year-old Christine Au, and her parents, Yu Hung Au and Moey Siewhai.

Yu Hung Au was on the floor of the garage, not breathing. The young girl and her mother were found on the top floor of the townhouse.

Ladder Co. 77 members brought all three out of the building, then worked with the members of Engine 153 to revive them.

"These people were all in respiratory arrest, and were seconds away from death," said FDNY Deputy Chief James Leonard of Division 8.

Those honored include, of Engine Co. 153, Lt. John Clacher and Firefighters Errico Bonadies, Matthew Holt, Manuel Martinez and Philip Sabbatino; and of Ladder Co. 77, Capt. Thomas Coleman and Firefighters Gaetano Puglia, Peter Traut, Joseph Rogers, Randy Perroth and David Brown.

"I am extremely proud of the service our members provide to Staten Island. We have an excellent team that provides outstanding service, which is exemplified by the actions of the members of Engine 153 and Ladder 77," said Staten Island Fire Chief Thomas Haring.

Haring also reminded borough residents to make sure they have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in their homes -- and that the units work -- and to check the batteries frequently.