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Augusta firefighters honored at commission meeting for saving man's life

Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012 9:19 PM
Last updated 9:50 PM
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Augusta firefighters Daniel Rigdon and Phillip Furlani were honored at Tuesday’s Augusta Commission meeting for rescuing a man from a burning building in December.

Richmond County Fire Chief Chris James recognizes Sgt. Daniel Rigdon (left) and Firefighter Phillip Furlani as the recipients of the Police and Fireman's Insurance Association Hero's Hall of Fame Award on Tuesday.  JACKIE RICCIARDI/STAF
JACKIE RICCIARDI/STAF
Richmond County Fire Chief Chris James recognizes Sgt. Daniel Rigdon (left) and Firefighter Phillip Furlani as the recipients of the Police and Fireman's Insurance Association Hero's Hall of Fame Award on Tuesday.

For their efforts, Furlani and Rigdon received the Police and Fireman’s Insurance Association’s Hero’s Hall of Fame Award.

“Any opportunity that we get to present (an award) to our firefighters and our police that are doing an outstanding job on a regular basis, we truly want to take advantage of it,” Fire Chief Chris James said. “When we slip, you hear about that. We definitely want you to hear when we have employees like these that are there every day.”

The rescue happened Dec. 18. At 11:13 p.m., firefighters were called to a structure fire at a single-story duplex in the “inner city” of Augusta, according to a statement read during the meeting.

Five fire trucks responded to the call and found heavy smoke billowing from the side of the home.

Rigdon, a sergeant, and Furlani entered through the front door and began a search in near-zero visibility and intense heat, the statement says. The two men searched every room, staying as low to the floor as possible. In one of the rooms, the men noticed a pair of legs dangling over a mattress. Immediately, Rigdon radioed the on-site commander that a victim had been discovered and asked for an ambulance. The two firefighters carried the man, who was “unconscious, yet breathing,’’ out of the duplex. Other firefighters helped with basic life support until an ambulance arrived.

James said both Furlani and Rigdon came up through the ranks during his time as the chief training officer.

“It is truly great to see the firefighters doing their job to this level,” the chief said. “It is the highlight of my job.”

Rigdon said he and Furlani did what others in the department would have done in the same situation.

“We were trained to do a job, and that’s what we did,” Rigdon said. “We’re a team.”

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