Norway, Oxford, Poland Rapid Intervention Teams receive American Red Cross ‘Real Heroes’ award

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SAFETY HERO — Norway Fire Chief Dennis Yates, right, receives an award from retired Lewiston Fire Chief Michael Lajoie. 

By Matthew Daigle

LEWISTON — The Rapid Intervention Teams of Norway, Oxford, and Poland received a Workplace Safety Heroes Award by the American Red Cross of Central and Mid Coast Maine during its 14th annual “Real Heroes” breakfast ceremony at the Ramada Inn in Lewiston last week.

HONORED — Retired Lewiston Fire Chief Michael Lajoie, left, presents Poland Fire Chief Mark Bosse, center, with a Workplace Safety Heroes Award on the morning of March 14 from the American Red Cross of Central and Mid Coast Maine while Norway Fire Chief Dennis Yates watches. 

The ceremony recognizes individuals and organizations who respond to challenges with “extraordinary courage.”

They were recognized for their efforts in rescuing Norway Fire Capt. Christine Yates from a burning home in Oxford on April 6, 2016, after she fell through the floor and got trapped.

While stuck in the home, Yates’ air supply tank ran out.

She later said that the Rapid Intervention Teams were able to locate her through the smoke and remove her from the home in about five minutes.

Maine State Fire Marshal Joseph Thomas presented Norway Fire Chief Dennis Yates, Poland Fire Chief Mark Bosse and Capt. Shawn Cordwell of the Oxford Fire Department with the award during the Tuesday, March 14 ceremony.

Oxford Rep. Kathleen Dillingham accepted Cordwell’s award on behalf of Cordwell, who was unable to be at the ceremony.

“Firefighting in a routine manner is a dance of orchestrated chaos,” Thomas said during the ceremony. “When things go south on us, that’s when we rely on the Rapid Intervention Teams. Being a RIT specialist requires many, many, many hours of training.”

He pointed to Yates and Bosse and said, “Because of these people you see in front of you today, everybody went home safe.”

mdaigle@sunmediagroup.net