Fire chief Glenn Linzmeier presented four Oregon firefighting personnel with a commendation at Monday’s Village Board meeting for their actions during a structure fire on South Burr Oak Avenue late last year.

The chief told the Village Board and the 30 or so people who were in attendance that a firefighter who lived near the house responded to the scene rather than to the fire station, saving time by performing initial necessary steps.

“In the room of combustion where the fire was, our crews reported 800 and 900 degrees,” Linzmeier told the Observer. “In my tenure, I have seen a lot of these go south very fast, and outcomes aren’t the same.”

Capt. Mike Venden and firefighters Dave Engerman, Alec Leppa and Alex Knight stood in front of the room and received plaques and hug from the woman they saved from the fire, Shamika Newillo.

The crew broke open the front door, Linzmeier said, and was met with heavy smoke and heat. They found Newillo incapacitated on the ground about 15 feet inside the door.

Newillo was hospitalized after the incident.

“It was pretty emotional for a bunch of our people (at the ceremony) and for some of the family in attendance,” Linzmeier said, and that emotion could be seen on the faces of those involved.

The insurance company paid the claim, Linzmeier said, and despite substantial smoke damage, crews were able to salvage many items from the home.

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