Published 9:48 pm Friday, April 25, 2014
Two Suffolk police officers who rushed into burning buildings to rescue citizens were honored for their bravery during the second Valor Awards presented by the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce on Friday morning.
Officers Shane Sukowaski and Marc Drouillard both received Lifesaving Awards at the breakfast event, where 40 other firefighters and police officers from across South Hampton Roads also were honored.
Officer Sukowaski was honored for his actions when called to a fire at the Chorey Park Apartments on June 7, 2013.
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Upon his arrival, he entered the building and told residents at the apartment complex that they needed to evacuate. He then went up the stairs and heard a woman screaming for help. On the second floor of the building, he found a man struggling to carry a woman in a wheelchair down the stairs. He helped them out of the building, and the woman told him there was another resident trapped on the second floor.
He tried to reach the apartment, but was unable to do so because of heavy smoke. He advised dispatch of the trapped resident and then was told of an elderly man trapped on the third floor.
He went to the third floor and located the man, who was in an electric wheelchair. Sukowaski found a regular wheelchair in the man’s apartment and transferred him, then wheeled him to the stairwell. The building’s security guard met him at the stairwell and helped carry the man to safety.
In a separate fire on Dec. 13, 2013, Officer Marc Drouillard saved the life of a woman who could not find her way out of her home.
He was the first to arrive at the house on Lee Street after hearing the report of the fire on his radio. Not seeing the woman that had been reported on the balcony, he kicked in the front door, went upstairs and found the woman, who told him she had been unable to get out of the house because she didn’t have her key for the front door’s deadbolt.
He led her out of the house and went back to look for her cat, but he was overcome by smoke and heat and had to leave.
Several members of the department, including Chief Thomas Bennett and Majs. Stephanie Burch and Dean Smith, were on hand at Friday’s breakfast to honor the officers, as well City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn.