Fire Fighter William S. Murak receives Hero's Medal.

This is the 3rd and probably the last article on Bill’s fight with fire:  Bill Murawski, who just recently was running for Mayor of New York had his challenge uprooted by an apartment fire that almost blinded and killed him. His life was saved by Firefighter  William S. Murak of Ladder Company 21.  On June 6, 2018 his heroism was recognized at the New York City Fire Department’s annual celebration of Medal Day.  Sixty-one Firefighters were recognized. Their awards were given by our Mayor, the Honorable Bill de Blasio at City Hall in Manhattan.

“On September  29, 2017, at 0037 hours, when Firefighter William S. Murak and the members of Ladder 21 responded to a phone alarm for heavy smoke conditions on the top floor of a multiple dwelling in the Midtown section (Hell’s Kitchen) of Manhattan  there were signs of fire and smoke coming from a building.  They started running up the interior stairs to the top floor.  On arrival, they were met with a heavy smoke condition and they began searching for the fire’s source by feeling the door of each apartment. One door was found to be hot to the touch, with heavy smoke pushing out from around the door jambs. All members of the inside team now could hear the fire crackling and a victim screaming on the other side of the door. The team used their tools to force open the locked door and without a hose-line in position and making his safety secondary, FF Murak began a rapid search alone, hoping to find the occupant before it was too late. He found a male, covered in debris and lying in a pile of burning newspapers. The occupant was dragged to the half-opened apartment door where with help he was pulled into the hallway. The victim was transported to the hospital by EMS personnel and treated for his injuries. For his bravery, FF Murak was honored with the Community Mayors for Special Children, Inc./Lt. Robert R. Dolney Medal.”

Bill Murawski and Friend.

Four days after the fire, I visited Bill in the Hospital Burn Unit of the NY Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center at 66th Street and York Ave. in Manhattan, said to be the best Burn Unit in the City. His vision had returned and drops were being placed in his eyes when I arrived. Also, he was being scheduled for skin grafts. He was in the Burn Unit for several weeks, maybe more and is still recovering. He is living in another location while his apartment is being repaired. A group of us visited him recently and we all sat around teaching each other about the world as we watched ” Justify”  win the Triple Crown Horse Race.


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