Alabaster firefighters honored for saving teen’s life

By JEREMY RAINES / Special to the Reporter

ALABASTER – On Tuesday, April 2, Alabaster Fire Department Chief Tim Love held a special ceremony to honor those in his department who courageously battled a residential fire earlier this year that claimed the life of an elderly Shelby County woman.

It all began on the morning of Jan. 22, at 8:24 a.m. AFD Engine 12 arrived at the residence of a well-involved house fire with confirmed entrapment. The crew worked quickly as they applied hours of training in preparation for moments like these.

Investigators found two individuals in the home – a grandmother and her 18-year-old granddaughter. The elderly woman was pronounced deceased at the scene, but swift actions taken by crew members of the AFD allowed the granddaughter to be taken to UAB to ultimately make a full recovery.

Love said he was confident that whatever crew would have been working that day, the outcome would have been similar because of the dedication the AFD applies to constant training.

The survivor, Patricia “PJ” Pressley, was introduced by Love to a roomful of AFD crew members, their families and other city officials at Alabaster City Hall. Holding back tears and full of emotion, Love told his crew members, “This is the fruits of your labor – each of you. This young lady would not be here today if it weren’t for you. So, when you train, you train a little harder now, because you see the difference.”

Love said he wanted to do something different for the AFD and city. He wanted to do something that he believed had never been done by the department or any other department he had ever been a part of.

He said even though the event that transpired that day had a negative outcome, it also had a bright and positive outcome, and he wanted to honor those who saved PJ’s life on that tragic January morning.

A total of 17 AFD employees were recognized, with 14 in attendance being issued a unit citation and a pinned by Love for their part in the outcome of that day. Additionally, five of these personnel members were awarded a life-saving citation for their personal actions taken that resulted in a life being saved for the 18-year-old granddaughter.