GOFFSTOWN — An off-duty Goffstown police officer and a resident who entered a burning building in an attempt to rescue those inside have been recognized for their efforts.
Officer Scott Avedisian was presented with the Medal of Valor by Police Chief Patrick Sullivan at Monday’s board of selectmen meeting, and resident Colleen Hanabergh was presented with a Citation of Heroism from the department as well.
In the early morning hours of May 8, Avedisian said, “I woke up to my wife yelling that there was a fire next door.”
The three-alarm blaze on Church Street claimed the life of Roger Audet Sr., but not before Avedisian made two attempts to rescue him.
Avedisian said he entered the four-unit apartment building the first time and came out because someone thought Audet had made it out safely.
When Avedisian learned that Audet was still inside, he went in again on his hands and knees, making a total of four attempts to get to people in the building.
Avedisian said Hanabergh also assisted in getting neighbors out of the building.
“She went banging on doors to alert neighbors,” Sullivan said. “Without her efforts, we would have had more than one fatal at that fire.”
A reluctant hero of sorts, Avedisian initially told Sullivan he didn’t want the award.
“The way I looked at it, I didn’t save someone’s life,” he said.
Avedisian said that even though he was off duty, he was simply doing his job.
“It never sleeps,” he said, “you have a duty to act.”
Avedisian has been with the department since last August, and is a reservist with the National Guard with a tour of duty in Iraq under his belt.
Sullivan said the honor was well-earned.
“Off duty, he had no expectations of running into a burning building once, let alone three times,” he said. “I think it speaks volumes about his character.”