Lt. Jeff Kraft of the Calumet Park (Ill.) Fire Department has received the 2005 Fireslayer of the Year Award. The award, presented by safety equipment manufacturerat the 2006 Fire Department Instructors Conference in Indianapolis, recognizes Kraft's heroic actions while responding to an April 15, 2005, alarm.
On the evening of the alarm, only three Calumet Park firefighters were on duty. The call was for a three-story apartment fire. Despite the limited resources available and the risks and uncertainties associated with multi-level fire, Kraft made the decision to quickly enter the burning building on the first floor to search for victims.
With backup support still 10 minutes away and flames extending from the second floor to the roofline, Kraft entered the building multiple times. In his search for victims, he discovered a 70-year-old woman on the third floor in serious condition, suffering from smoke inhalation. He removed his air mask facepiece, shared his air and carried her to safety. Upon re-entering the blaze, he found a second trapped victim — a middle-aged man — and likewise assisted in his evacuation. The award cites Kraft's thorough training and tremendous dedication as key to the fact that no lives were lost in the incident.
MSA created the Fireslayer of the Year Award in 2000 to honor outstanding achievements by individual firefighters and departments serving as role models for others. At the award ceremony in Indianapolis, Kraft was presented with a special leather Cairns helmet and a commemorative plaque recognizing his act of heroism.
In addition to this award, MSA will make a $5,000 donation on behalf of the Calumet Park Fire Department to the International Association of Fire Fighters' Burn Foundation, which benefits the Firefighters' National Children's Burn Camp and burn research, rehabilitation and education programs.