During the Police Commission meeting on March 1, 2023, one officer and two dispatchers were recognized for their outstanding work during a residential fire.
At 1:20 pm on January 22, 2023, the Communications Center received a call from one of their own — Communications Specialist Andrew Neal. Andrew, the homeowner in this situation called in directly and calmly notified Communications Specialist Eric Pike that his home was on fire. Neal mentioned he was “working on getting himself and his wife out of the residence”.
Pike started police units to the residence and made notifications to nearby agencies to respond to the scene. Communications Specialist Michelle Bowley simultaneously put the tone out for the Rochester Fire Department to respond to a structure fire in progress and assisted with other notifications.
While the Dispatch Center worked to make notifications, Officer Nicholas Alexander was the first officer on scene. According to reports, Alexander went into action grabbing the fire extinguisher from his cruiser and entering the home, which at that point had flames coming from the roof and black smoke coming from the second-floor windows. Alexander located the homeowners and helped assist Neal and his wife, with mobility issues, out of the residence by spraying the fire extinguisher onto the falling fire embers from the ceiling.
Officer Alexander’s actions gave the family an opportunity to get down the stairs without being trapped in the residence. Once the family was on the first floor, they were able to exit the house with their pet and get into a warm vehicle away from the residence.
The Fire Department arrived shortly after and immediately went to a first alarm, requesting more apparatus and manpower to the scene. Communications Specialists Pike and Bowley worked as a team to provide information and notifications to nearby agencies to assist in battling the fire.
Officer Alexander’s actions during the incident illustrate the dedication first responders are willing to make to risk their lives for residents in need. The professionalism and teamwork Pike and Bowley showed during a chaotic and stressful call (involving someone they work with regularly) were exemplary.
Dispatcher Michelle Bowley and Dispatcher Eric Pike were awarded the Distinguished Unit Award. Officer Nicholas Alexander was awarded the Medal for Bravery — in a heartfelt moment on stage, Andrew Neal issued the award to Officer Alexander.