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Saturday, June 4, 2016

FDNY- James Gordon Bennett Medal Winner Daily News

Life-saving firefighter Brian Colleluori wins James Gordon Bennett Medal, FDNY's highest honor

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Lt. Brian Colleluori receives FDNY's highest award — the James Gordon Bennett Medal.

An FDNY lieutenant who barreled into a burning Brooklyn building and pulled out a hulking man and unconscious woman was honored Wednesday with the department’s highest award.
Brian Colleluori, of Ladder 174 in East Flatbush, was feted with the James Gordon Bennett Medal for his extraordinary act of bravery on Feb. 1, 2015.
"I'm just very humbled to be selected for this medal,” Colleluori, 38, said after a ceremony outside City Hall.
The 15-year vet didn’t hesitate before racing inside a three-story building in Canarsie as it was engulfed by a fast-moving blaze, officials said.
Colleluori, after advancing 25 feet into blinding smoke, found a heavyset man unconscious. The smoke-eater managed to drag the victim to a garage where firefighters helped bring him to safety.
“[Colleluori] turned back and looked at the building and saw that the fire was growing,” Mayor de Blasio said.
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(From l.) FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro, Mayor de Blasio, Colleluori and Chief of Department James Leonard pose at the department's award ceremony.

“Literally flames — 27-foot flames were reported — shooting out of the windows. Imagine the danger, and imagine the decision the Lieutenant had to make.
“Well because he is a leader in this FDNY, he made the decision to go back into the building.”
With the fire rolling overhead, Colleluori was forced to his knees after bursting back inside. Still he managed to find a woman collapsed in the rear of the building.
But the fire was intensifying, and there was no clear exit.
“So Lieutenant Colleluori did the only thing left he could do — he used his own body as a shield, praying his gear would hold out and protect them both,” de Blasio said.
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Colleluori saved two lives in a dramatic February 2015 rescue.

Despite Colleluori’s efforts, the woman ultimately succumbed to her injuries.
The hero smoke-eater was among the 67 firefighters, paramedics and EMTS who were honored by de Blasio and FDNY brass.
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro singled out his nephew Adam Villagos, of Engine 316 in Queens, for rescuing a newborn from the attic of a burning home in Corona.
“As his commissioner, I'm proud of his dramatic rescue,” Nigro said. “But as his uncle, I'm even more proud of the man, and of the fire officer he has become.”
Lt. Michael Daddona was awarded the Christopher J. Prescott Medal, EMS’ highest honor, for rescuing an elderly woman from a house fire in the Rockaways before FDNY units showed up.
“An amazing story of bravery but again an example of what those brave individuals in this department are capable of every day,” de Blasio said.