Firefighter-paramedic receives Medal of Honor for off-duty save
Jared Thorpe was running errands when his scanner alerted him about two people trapped in a burning house
By EMS1 Staff
DEKALB, Ill. — You don’t meet a lot of people who would run into a fire without any gear, and you definitely don’t meet many who would do it twice.
Daily Chronicle reported that firefighter-paramedic Jared Thorp was awarded the Medal of Honor at the Illinois Fallen Firefighter Memorial and Fire Fighting Medal of Honor Awards last week.
While running errands with his girlfriend last year, Thorp’s scanner alerted him about two people trapped in a burning house. He sprang into action.
When he arrived, the family informed him there was actually only one, so Thorp entered the home, went up the stairs and found a boy in one of the bedrooms.
“He was stuck kind of behind the door, so I had to force the door open,” Thorp said.
After rolling the boy to get the door open, Thorp had to go back out to the front porch to escape the smoke. He heard sirens, but no engines could be found. He ventured back inside.
“I knew I only had a few seconds to make it back up there and see if I could do something,” Thorp said. “Conditions had changed drastically since I’d come back down. Way more heat, way more smoke. Visibility was out the window. I decided instead of making myself another victim, I’d come back down.”
Help finally arrived. Firefighters Jon Ritter and Matt Holuj completed the rescue by bringing the boy to safety and doubling as paramedics in the ambulance.
Thorp hadn’t left yet — he was in the driver’s seat.
“You can’t ever speculate, but it could have taken them the extra time,” Thorp said. “They wouldn’t have known exactly where to go. They might have searched other rooms, and that probably would have added another minute or two. It’s just one of those things where you’re just geared as a firefighter, you’re cranked up and know what’s going on. You look at the house and [can] tell you have some time.”
Thorp was one of three to receive the Medal of Honor, and he said he owes it all to his team.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing in your career,” Thorp said. “I work with a great group of guys who make me look good. They did all the dirty work. It’s an honor to come to work every day and serve the citizens. Obviously, we don’t sign up in this career to look for awards.”