Gastonia firefighters receive state awards for bravery in the line of duty

GASTONIA, N.C. — On Tuesday, members of the Gastonia Fire Department received the NC Office of State Fire Marshal Valor Award for their extraordinary acts of courage and bravery in the line of duty.

This prestigious award is the highest honor given by the organization and is used to recognize exceptional heroism.

Captain Barron Summey and Firefighter Michael Chafin were recognized for their heroic actions during a high-angle rescue that occurred earlier this year.

On January 14, Ranlo Fire and Rescue was dispatched to assist the Ranlo Police Department with a woman who was climbing a 150-foot cell tower on Burlington Avenue.

Upon arrival, it was clear that the woman was in distress, unresponsive to commands, bleeding, and at risk of hypothermia due to the cold weather.

When negotiations failed, the decision was made to send rescuers up the tower. Captain Barron Summey and Firefighter Michael Chafin from GFD’s High Angle Rescue units then began their ascent.

Despite the woman’s resistance and the dangerous conditions, Captain Summey and Firefighter Chafin executed a daring rescue. Captain Summey managed to secure the individual just as she let go of the tower, preventing a fall. Together, they safely lowered her to the ground using a complex rope system.

Their quick thinking, teamwork, and bravery saved the individual’s life and exemplified the highest standards of the fire service.

VIDEO: Only on 9: Firefighters describe daring rescue of woman who climbed cell tower

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