Natick Fire Department firefighter/paramedics Matthew Higgins and Michael Salvucci on Friday were awarded the Medal of Valor at Massachusetts’ 33rd annual Firefighter of the Year Awards ceremony, held at Worcester’s Mechanics Hall.
Here’s why they were recognized:
Just before 4:00 a.m. on Dec. 18, 2021, Natick firefighters responded to a report of the smell of smoke at a 12-unit apartment complex. When they arrived, they found heavy fire pouring out from the first-floor apartment and a witness who said there was still one occupant inside. The witness was the trapped occupant’s son.
The man had tried to rescue his mother, but the heavy, choking smoke was made it impossible. Firefighter Michael Salvucci, who was acting lieutenant at the incident, and Firefighter Matthew Higgins entered the window leading to the victim’s room. As flames roared around them and conditions quickly deteriorated, they located the victim and removed her through the window to EMS care.
The mother and son were both transported to hospitals. Though gravely injured, the mother held on for several months before passing away. The bold and decisive action by FFs Salvucci and Higgins gave her loved ones a chance to say goodbye in a place of peace and dignity.
Congrats to firefighter Higgins and Salvucci.