SPRING VALLEY – Three Orange and Rockland Utilities gas operations employees who rescued an elderly Monsey man from a burning building in December have been awarded the Society of Gas Operators’ 2020 Dick Morgan Heroism Award.
SOGO, an industry group that provides information and public education programs about the gas business, established the Heroism Award in 1996. The award was subsequently renamed for Dick Morgan, a long-time Con Edison emergency management official and former SOGO president, who was killed on 9/11 in the collapse of one of the Twin Towers while assisting the Fire Department of New York.
The three honored O&R employees — Ted Ryder, James Lynch and Ross Dailey — were returning to the Spring Valley Operations Center after a morning assignment last December 4 when they stopped to investigate suspicious smoke coming from a house in Monsey.
After Ryder called the apparent fire into authorities, a young woman outside the house told the men that her elderly grandfather was still in the building which by then was engulfed in flames.
All three employees are trained and experienced in emergency response work — Ryder is a former chief of the all-volunteer Nyack Fire Department — and they knew they had to act fast. They quickly conferred as they hurried toward the blaze, agreed on a simple plan and put it into action.
Ryder and Lynch ran into the burning building, yelling and pounding on doors to find any sign of residents. Dailey set up outside the house to back up his partners, ready to rescue them if necessary. Ryder and Lynch found an elderly man asleep in the kitchen, shook him awake and pulled him out of the house. No one was injured.