New York City Fire Department - Medal Day 2003  






Firefighter Charles S. Frame Pulaski Association Medal

Firefighter Charles S. Frame
Ladder Company 127

February 28, 2002, 2214 hours
Box 75-4978
139-05 85th Drive, Queens

Appointed to the FDNY on July 16, 1989. Previously assigned to Ladder 116. Member of the Emerald Society. Cited for bravery once previously. Attended the University of Tampa and Suffolk Community College. Resides in West Islip, Long Island, with his wife, Denise, and their children, Jesse, Brianna and Evan.

On the wintry night of the last day of February 2002, Ladder Company 127 and its companion unit, Engine Company 298, were dispatched at 2214 hours by a phone alarm for a fire in a very large apartment house in Jamaica, Queens.

On arrival, the 10-75 signal for a working fire was transmitted for a fire in apartment 5-G on the fifth floor of the 48-unit, six-story, 300- by 100-foot, non-fireproof, multiple dwelling at 139-05 85th Drive.

FF Charles S. Frame had been designated the irons man on that tour as part of the Ladder 127 forcible entry team. The rest of the team was rounded out with Lieutenant Robert Stegmeier and FF Michael J. Culen (can man). Together, the two Firefighters and Lieutenant made their way to the fifth-floor fire.

FF Charles Frame (second from left) with members of 127 Truck and the Company in action at right. photos courtesy of FF Charles S. Frame

FF Charles Frame (second from left) with members of 127 Truck and the Company in action at right. photos courtesy of FF Charles S. Frame

Geared up with complete PPE (personal protective equipment), including self-contained breathing apparatus, the trio encountered very heavy fire at the apartment door. FF Culen used the 21/2-gallon fire extinguisher to hold back the fire so that the door to bedroom number 2 of the long, four-bedroom flat could be closed. This heads-up move allowed the Firefighters to enter the apartment to begin their search for victims after hearing faint moans from within.

Per Lieutenant Stegmeier’s order, FFs Frame and Culen stood at the right side of the wall, with the Officer to the left. FF Culen used the remainder of the can to knock down enough fire extending from bedroom number 2 so that they could begin their search of the long apartment.

FFs Culen and Frame continued their perilous way down the narrow, cluttered, interior hallway of the flat until they reached bedroom number 4, the bedroom deepest in the apartment. It was here that FF Frame came upon the first victim--a male later identified as Jorge Bello, age 46.

FF Frame radioed a 10-45 signal for the injured victim, which Lieutenant Stegmeier relayed to Battalion Chief Paul Tauber, Battalion 50, and to alert EMS. FF Culen then found a female victim, identified later as Elizabeth Ines, age 48. Both victims were alive and plans for their speedy removal began.

There was no front fire escape, which would facilitate a relatively easier removal, indicating that both victims would have to be taken back via the same slow and arduous route their rescuers had taken to find them. FF Frame radioed this information to his Officer. With Lieutenant Stegmeier’s assistance, FFs Frame and Culen made their way back through the narrow and furniture-cluttered interior hallway, carrying the victims out to the safety of the public hallway.

Engine Company 298, after a difficult and long (15 lengths) stretch, now arrived on the fifth floor with its vital charged hose-line and extinguished the remaining fire. Meanwhile, FF Culen had begun CPR on the female victim, to whom the resuscitator also was applied. She was removed by EMS and admitted to the New York Hospital-Cornell Burn Center to be treated for burns and smoke inhalation. The other victim, Jorge Bello, also was admitted to Cornell for smoke inhalation.

FF Frame placed himself at unusual personal risk and performed in a manner that surely preserved this man’s life, worthy of the highest traditions of FDNY. For these reasons, he is presented with the Pulaski Association Medal today.—JM