CENTER TWP — VA Butler Healthcare and the Butler County commissioners honored two firefighters Thursday for helping rescue a woman from her burning house in December.
Capt. Jeremy Simcheck and firefighter Nathan Fitzwater of the VA Butler Healthcare Fire Department, were presented with VA Heroism Awards and proclamations from the county for their actions Dec. 9.
Early that morning, at 12:48 a.m., a fire erupted in a duplex at 535-537 Carbon St. in the Institute Hill neighborhood in Butler.
Firefighters arrived and found the residents from one side of the duplex trying to break down their neighbors’ door amid growing flames.
After the door was breached, a man and his young daughter emerged and told firefighters that the man’s 54-year-old mother was inside in her upstairs bedroom.
Firefighters knocked down the flames in the kitchen so they could go upstairs, but they encountered more fire in a second floor bathroom.
After extinguishing those flames, firefighters found the unconscious woman in another bathroom.
Simcheck and Fitzwater, along with members of the Butler Fire Department, removed the woman and took her to Butler Ambulance Service paramedics outside.
She was taken to Butler Memorial Hospital and then flown to West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh.
City police and Butler Township Fire District 3 also responded to the fire.
Simcheck and Fitzwater have been working for the VA fire department since February 2009. The department, established in 1946, has 12 firefighters.
“They’re a wonderful asset and community partner,” said Becky Hubscher, VA Butler Healthcare associate director. “They have mutual aid agreements with other departments. They do an excellent job. They take pride in their work.
“They’re here 24-7,” she said.
Eight of the firefighters also are emergency medical technicians and eight of the firefighters are veterans, she said.
In addition to the heroism awards, Simcheck, Fitzwater and the department were presented with county proclamations by Commissioner Kevin Boozel.