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Frank E. Muzio

Firefighter Frank E. Muzio
Ladder Company 12

March 28, 1999, 0537 hours, Box 22-533,
463 West Street, Manhattan

Appointed to FDNY on August 11, 1991, and assigned to Ladder 12. Member of the Columbia Association. Cited for bravery twice previously. Holds a degree in Civil Engineering from Manhattan College. Resides in Middle Village, Queens, and is engaged to be married.

Ladder 12, a busy lower Manhattan company, was organized way back in December 1865. The “Pride of Chelsea” is quartered with Engine 3 and the 7th Battalion at 150 West 19th Street, Manhattan, an area comprised of tenements, brownstones, factories, piers and other various commercial occupancies. Working the 6-x-9 tour on March 27, 1999, members were hoping for a quiet night. This was not to be the case.
     At 0537 hours on March 28, the tone alarm pierced the early-morning stillness and ordered Ladder 12 to respond to 55 Bethune Street, Box 533 (West and Bank Streets). The structure, a huge building, also known as 463 West Street, is an 11-story-high, 235- x 260-foot MD (multiple dwelling). There are 345 apartments in the building and, at 0537 hours, it was a sure bet they were--for the most part--occupied, presenting a serious life hazard.
     The large fire apartment (910-C) was of duplex construction, with the only apartment entrance off the building’s ninth-floor hallway. The first floor of the fire apartment was down a flight of stairs from the entrance door and was almost fully involved on arrival. This had created a flue-like condition of extremely intense heat pushing up the apartment stairs and into the second floor.
     Upon arrival, Ladder 12 was informed that a woman had been seen screaming at a ninth-floor window, trapped, but since had disappeared from view. From previous drills, FF Frank Muzio Ladder 12 was aware of the complex layout of the building and knew that the first-due engine would have a long and difficult stretch.
     Without hesitation, FF Muzio, as a member of the forcible entry team, raced for the ninth-floor apartment entrance. Feeling the apartment door--which was red-hot to the touch--he recognized the extremely high heat conditions on the other side and so warned the inside team. Meanwhile, Battalion 7 had ordered Ladder 5 into position for a possible rope rescue.
     Forcing the apartment door with the Rabbit Tool, FF Muzio initiated the search in the face of blistering heat and without the cover of a protective line. Despite rapidly deteriorating fire conditions, he aggressively pushed his search for the trapped and now silent victim. On hands and knees and with zero visibility, FF Muzio Queens Box 33-1355, 101-02 Rockaway Boulevard, September 25, 1998.  Members operate at a vacant commercial building fire.rapidly covered a large area of two walk-in closets and two bedrooms.
      The prone and unconscious victim was found in the last bedroom at the farthest distance from the apartment egress. After transmitting a 10-45 and with worsening conditions, FF Muzio single-handedly began the victim’s removal from the apartment, dragging the woman around various pieces of furniture.
     Dragging the victim toward the apartment entrance--still with no line in place--it was necessary for FF Muzio to shield her with his own body to protect the woman from the blowtorch-like conditions emanating from the floor below. Exerting maximum effort, the firefighter was able to complete the rescue and turn the victim over to medical personnel on the floor below. Although totally exhausted, he re-entered the fire apartment to continue searching for other possible victims.
     FF Muzio’s actions in saving an unconscious woman from certain death under extreme heat conditions and without the benefit of a covering hose-line are in the highest traditions of the New York City Fire Department. For this reason, he is being presented with a medal of heroism today.--GA

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