ADELPHI – The display of gratitude that took place Tuesday was 57 years in the making. In August of 1959, firefighters responded to a house fire on 25th Avenue in Hyattsville with the report of children trapped inside the burning house. The two siblings, who were successfully rescued, got the opportunity to thank the firefighter […]
ADELPHI – The display of gratitude that took place Tuesday was 57 years in the making.
In August of 1959, firefighters responded to a house fire on 25th Avenue in Hyattsville with the report of children trapped inside the burning house. The two siblings, who were successfully rescued, got the opportunity to thank the firefighter who saved their lives at a special event.
Firefighter Stu Newman, who worked for the Chillum-Adelphi (volunteer) Fire Department, was among those who encountered fire coming from the house where Linda Hart, then three years old, and her brother Michael, who was two years old, were still inside. Newman entered the house and located Michael unconscious.
“I recalled finding Michael and putting my breathing apparatus mask over his face to give him air and carrying him out of the home to waiting medics,” Newman said. “My part was over very promptly. That was the only thing I was supposed to do.”
Linda was also found and carried to safety.
“We understand that an off duty Prince George’s County police officer who lived nearby played a major role,” said Mark Brady, spokesperson for the county fire department. “He brought a ladder to the scene and used it to enter a second story window to begin searching for the children. Upon finding Linda, he carried her to safety.”
Both Linda and Michael were transported to the hospital where they were treated and released.
Using Facebook and old newspaper articles, and with help from Brady, Linda and Michael were able to track down Newman to express their gratitude.
“Every time I passed a firehouse I thought about the fireman who rescued my sister and I, and I knew I had to find him and thank him,” Michael said.
On Tuesday at the Chillum Adelphi Volunteer Fire Station, the siblings were finally able to shake hands with Newman, who is now 84 years old.
“I never imagined that so many years later that I’d have the opportunity to meet Stu and shake his hand and thank him for saving me and my sister that day,” Michael said.
Not long after the rescue in 1959, Newman joined the Prince George’s County Fire Department and retired as an EMS Battalion Chief after 25 years of service.
“During our search on the rescue of the Hart children, we discovered Newman was never awarded appropriate retirement credentials when he retired two decades ago,” Brady said.
As the reunion ceremony was coming to the end, Assistant Fire Chief of the Prince George’s County Fire Department Benjamin Barksdale presented Newman with a retirement ID, badge and challenge coin just one day before he marked 25 years of retirement.