AMR Paramedic and EMT Honored For Saving Children from Apartment Fire

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Two Waterbury AMR workers are being recognized for their quick thinking and heroic actions after leaping into action to save the lives of those inside a burning building.

On July 13, a fire broke out near an apartment building that left one man dead, 14 families displaced and one business completely destroyed.

Keith Slater and Michael Messenger arrived on the scene of the fire shortly after it ignited in the back. The pair rushed in to help anyone who was still inside. Slater and Messenger began banging on doors to make sure everyone wasn't still inside.

While getting everyone outside of the building, both men picked up children to carry them out when smoke filled the apartment building.

Typically, the pair are the ones who end up helping someone when they've just been saved, but on that day, their jobs changed in an instance.

"It wasn't really a thought or anything," said Slater. "It was a larger apartment building so it just clicked that we needed to get everybody out of the building."

Waterbury's Mayor Neil O'Leary along with state Sen. Eric Berthel honored the pair for their fast decisions that saved the lives of three children.

According to American Medical Response's leaders, local EMTs and paramedics don't go through fire training but are prepared to step up when it matters most.

"Everybody that comes to work that puts their uniform on every day, they're heroes," said John Kirby, senior operations supervisor for AMR. "They do this on a daily basis and for circumstances like this we have to give praise when someone does a heroic action like what we saw."

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