Wilmington firefighters honored for rescue during Hurricane Florence

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Fire crews gather around home in Wilmington after a tree fell on the house during Florence on September 14, 2018. (Photo: Andrew James/WWAY)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The firefighters of Wilmington Fire Station two are being recognized for one of the calls they answered during Hurricane Florence.

The Lower Cape Fear Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution honored the men and women with certificates and medals for their heroic actions on Sept. 14, 2018.

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It was an eye opening moment in the middle of Hurricane Florence, that touched everyone who saw it.

“It’s a difficult situation for all of us,” Wilmington Fire Chief Buddy Martinette said.

Wilmington Fire Chief Buddy Martinette was visibly emotional as the firefighters from fire station two prayed while trying to rescue a family of three crushed by a tree that fell on their home on Mercer Avenue.

“In this particular circumstance they were not just praying for the family, but also for their brothers and sisters that are involved in all this,” Martinette said.

Martinette said firefighters answer calls like this every day, but this one involved a few more challenges.

“These people were out there during hurricane force winds,” Martinette said. “They were dealing with a massive tree that was on a house that was unstable. The wind was still blowing and moving it. They were trying to save somebody’s life during all this. It was a remarkable event to say the least.”

The Lower Cape Fear Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution thought they deserved certificates of recognition.

“Inparticular, the actions surrounding the recovery efforts on Mercer Avenue brought distinguished credit to the city of Wilmington and the Wilmington Fire Department, and were recognized throughout the nation,” Chapter President, John E. Stewart said.

Martinette said they do not expect any kind of reward.

“They’re humble enough that they appreciate it very much, but they certainly don’t expect it,” Martinette said. “They want to do a good job every day. They want to go and then they want to go back to the fire station and they want to do another good job.”

Lesha Patrice Johnson, 41, and her eight month old child were killed on the morning of September 14 after that tree crashed through the roof of their home. Her husband was taken to the hospital with injuries.