2023 Red Cross Class of Heroes: Three Chicago Firefighter Heroes

Captain Paul Burns, Firefighter Paramedic Michael Modjeski, Firefighter EMT Jeffrey Rich, of Chicago are the Firefighter Heroes.

In April 2022, the three Chicago Fire Department firefighters responded to a major three-story apartment building fire in the Austin neighborhood. They arrived to find heavy fire emanating from the first-floor windows. Just inside the front door of an apartment on fire, they assisted a female victim who communicated that her ‘grand baby’ was inside. With zero visibility, heavy smoke conditions, and extreme heat, the interior search team entered the burning apartment. Within minutes, FF/PM Modjeski signaled to his partner, FF/EMT Rich, that he had discovered a female on the bed and needed assistance getting her out of the house. Subsequently, Capt. Burns entered the bedroom to complete the search. Under heavy debris from the closet, Capt. Burns discovered an unresponsive 3-year-old child and carried her out of the building. All three victims were quickly transported to the hospital. The search team of Capt. Burns, FF/PM Modjeski and FF/EMT Rich heroically ventured into a heavy fire situation to rescue individuals in a dire circumstance.

Read more about the 2023 American Red Cross of Greater Chicago’s Red Cross Heroes and how you can join us in making a difference.

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