Firefighters awarded for saving women from Concord fire

January 24, 2012 10:13:39 PM PST
The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors this morning shined the spotlight on three firefighters for saving the lives of two women who were trapped inside a burning house in Concord last year.

"Every day you go to work to put your life on the line to serve others, and sometimes it's to save others," board chair Mary Piepho said.

She was addressing Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Capt. Christopher Christiansen, engineer Chris Leimpeter and firefighter-paramedic Nicholas Long.

The three men were recognized this morning for rescuing an elderly woman and her caretaker from a fire early the morning of Oct. 14.

Before they arrived at the scene that day, bystanders had unsuccessfully tried to rescue the two women, Contra Costa fire Chief Daryl Louder said.

The elderly woman was bedridden because of a recent surgery, and both were trapped as the home on Bon Homme Way became engulfed in flames, he said.

Louder said it was Christensen's planning combined with Leimpeter's and Long's bravery in entering the home that saved the women's lives, Louder said.

"In this case it really was a combined effort ... those two women are alive today because of the efforts of these three gentlemen," Louder told the board.

The chief said the incident underscores the need for adequate fire and rescue resources and highly trained personnel for emergencies.

Fire officials said the blaze, which was determined to be accidental, caused roughly $100,000 in damage.