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Firefighters Receive Medal of Honor

Scott Kohler

Firefighters Scott Kohler and Matt Towner will be recognized with the Medal of Honor by the Oregon Fire Chiefs Association (OFCA) 2018 Oregon Fire Service Meritorious Awards that will be presented at the Spring Conference Awards Luncheon on Thursday, May 10, 2018 at Eagle Crest Resort in Redmond, OR.

The OFCA’s Medal of Honor is awarded to individuals who intelligently and in the line of duty, gives their life, or distinguishes themselves by an act of extreme courage involved risk of imminent danger to their life, with knowledge of such risk, above and beyond the call of duty.

Kohler and Towner are being recognized with the Medal of Honor for selflessly risking their lives for another human being at a residential fire on September 6, 2017. At 3:49 am, Heavy Rescue 305 (Mt. Scott Station 5) was dispatched to Top O’ Scott Street in Happy Valley. Initial information noted a trapped person inside. Heavy Rescue 305 arrived on scene and found a two-story home with flames coming out the front door and through the roof. Kohler and Towner headed upstairs, fire pushed its way down the hallway, as the carpet melted under their boots from the intense heat. They located the 62-year-old female victim in the bedroom and shut the door behind them, realizing they weren’t going out the same way they came in. They found the victim walking around aimlessly and holding a wash cloth over her mouth.

Matt Towner

As the door began burning through, firefighters prepared to rescue the victim by going out the window. Kohler used his bailout rope system by attaching the hook on the windowsill, bailed out, and came to rest just below the second story window. Towner assisted the victim onto Kohler, as he hung from his bailout rope a couple feet below the windowsill. Kohler grasped the victim and shielded her from the fire. The fire engulfed the entire room and was rolling out the window as Towner bailed out next to Kohler. They held the victim as other members of Heavy Rescue 305 climbed a ladder to bring her down.

The victim was taken by ambulance to the hospital and treated for burns and smoke inhalation. She spent one month in the hospital before being discharged. From the time call was dispatched to the time the victim was safely out of the home was just under 10 minutes.

For more information on the Fire Chiefs Association and Spring Conference Awards Luncheon, visit their website at: https://ofca.org/spring-conference/meritorious-awards/.