Bazetta honors safety forces

BAZETTA – Trustees honored 10 of their own police and firefighters along with three others for their response to a duplex fire and the rescue of two duck hunters and search for another on Mosquito Creek Reservoir.

Both incidents occurred Nov. 24.

Township trustees presented the men certificates of appreciation last week for going above and beyond in their positions, and with life-saving awards in the case of the fire.

According to fire Chief Dennis Lewis, police arrived at the kitchen fire at 2403 Hoagland Blackstub Road and helped to evacuate the final neighbor in the adjoining duplex. However, when they attempted to enter the portion of the duplex with the fire, the smoke was too thick.

Once the fire department arrived, firefighters rescued a woman and her two children, ages 8 and 9, from the second floor. Heavy smoke had trapped them in a bedroom.

“It’s proud to be a chief, to see and actually watch firefighters pull out victims and for there to be survivors,” Lewis said.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze and gave the residents four working smoke detectors, which Lewis said the duplex did not have.

The second incident for which the men received certificates was helping in the search and attempted rescue of duck hunter Daniel Khalil Jr., 35.

Khalil and two other men had been out before dawn on Mosquito Creek Reservoir preparing for a day of duck hunting when waves caused their boat to capsize and sent them into the frigid water.

Several emergency response teams took part in the rescue of the two men and the search for Khalil, whose body was later found by another hunter on shore. The Trumbull County coroner ruled that Khalil died of isochemic heart disease in association with drowning.

The other two hunters, whose names weren’t released, were treated at St. Joseph Health Center in Warren and discharged the same day.

Acting police Chief Mike Hovis also expressed his pride in both his men and the firefighters.

“It feels good to know we get to provide the services that our residents are paying for,” Hovis said.