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Philadelphia Fire Fighter Honored by City Council for Bravery

From Left: Retired Local 22 fire fighter Francis Cheney Sr., Local 22 fire fighter Frances Cheney and Retired Fire Commissioner William Richmond
September 27, 2012 – The Philadelphia City Council has passed a resolution to recognize Local 22 fire fighter Francis Cheney for his bravery as he rescued a woman from a burning row house.

“Cheney is one of our best,” says Local 22 President Bill Gault. “He put his own life at risk to ensure someone else’s safety. He did a great thing.”

Cheney, an eight-year veteran, is assigned to Ladder 10 and was among the fire fighters to respond to the April warehouse fire that killed two Local 22 members -- Robert Neary and Daniel Sweeney.

But on July 4, Cheney was working overtime on Engine 61 in the Feltonville area of Philadelphia. Engine 61 was dispatched to a row house with reports of people trapped inside. Upon arrival, a man outside the burning row house told fire fighters that his sister was trapped in one of the second floor bedrooms.

Captain Anne Marie Lewandowski and fire fighter John Gonzales ran hoses while Cheney went inside to find the trapped victim.

Cheney found her underneath a window in one of the bedrooms. “She was having a difficult time breathing, so I took a deep breath, removed my mask and put it on her,” recalls Cheney. “We got out of there as quick as we could.”

Afterwards, Cheney donated the money he made in overtime to the woman he saved. “They lost a lot in that fire,” he says. “I figured she needed it more than I did.”

The City recognized Cheney during its September 20 City Council meeting.

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