Fire department honors three civilian heroes

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1st Assistant Chief Mark Luby and District Chief Mike Cosenza on left and 2nd Assistant Chief John Cronk on right presented the awards to the three civilians.

PLEASANT VALLEY – Three men who saved a man from a burning apartment in February have been recognized as heroes by elected officials and the Pleasant Valley Fire District that responded to the February fire at the West Road Apartment Complex.

The three men, Joshua Constable, Bruce Grigging II, and Ronald Rembert, are credited with saving the life of a 71-year-old man trapped in a burning apartment and also acted in a way that prevented the blaze from spreading out of control.

On February 16 at approximately 9:44 a.m., the Pleasant Valley Fire Department responded to the reported fire and arrived to verify heavy black smoke billowing from a basement apartment.  A caller had reported that an elderly man was trapped in the apartment.

Prior to the arrival of the first responders, fellow resident Joshua Constable heard his neighbor yelling for help inside the apartment. Constable forced his way into the burning apartment, located the man, and began to remove him. Two men from an alarm company, Bruce Griffing II, a retired Town of Poughkeepsie Police officer, and Ronald Rembert, were nearby and rushed into the apartment to help Constable.

Together, the three men were able to rescue the occupant and bring him to safety.  Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Shawn Castano noted that Griffing prevented the fire from spreading to other units because he closed the door of the burning unit after rescuing the tenant.

Pleasant Valley Fire District Chief Michael Cosenza said, “These three gentlemen gave more than 100% that day and should be very proud of themselves for their bravery that day. I thank them all, before honoring them last week at the fire department headquarters.

At the meeting, dozens of people gathered to honor the heroes.  All three men, including Remberts, downplayed their actions.

“When I did it, I didn’t realize what I was doing.”  Remberts’ fellow rescuers were just as humble, with Griffing adding, “The other two guys were awesome and this was a case of the right guys in the right place, at the right time.”  Constable accepted the praise and said, “I just did what I had to do and I would do it again.”