Three Manchester police officers were honored Monday for their actions that saved the lives of eight people.
All three were awarded the police department's Life Saving Medal
It was 11:40 p.m. on March 28 when Officer Robert Megowen was sent to 658 Rimmon St. for a garage fire.
When he arrived, fire already enveloped the garage and was spreading rapidly to an adjoining triple-decker apartment building.
Megowen looked up and saw someone holding a child in a third-floor window. He followed two people through a rear stairwell into the burning building where he ran to the third floor and found two adults and five children inside the apartment.
Megowen led them to safety, double-checking the other apartments to ensure everyone was out. By then, flames were spreading into the living space at the rear of the building and Megowen, working through heavy smoke, assisted firefighters in searching the second-floor apartment. Then he went down to the first floor where he forced open the door to confirm no one was inside. Only then did he make his way out of the building.
It was through his efforts, police say, that a potentially tragic end was averted.
On March 5, two other officers — Michael Dunlap and Richard Valenti Jr. — risked their lives when they waded 15 feet into the Merrimack River to rescue a woman who was sitting up to her neck in the 40-degree river. When Dunlap first saw the reportedly suicidal woman in the river near Arms Park, he quickly grabbed the life-saving orange disk in the trunk of his cruiser and ran to the river's edge to assist Valenti, who already was there attempting to talk to the woman.
They threw her the disk but she was unable to grab it because the frigid water had reduced her body temperature, incapacitating her. Fearing the strong river current would carry her away or that she would die of hypothermia, the officers waded out into the river and pulled her to some nearby rocks where other officers pulled her up out of the water.
Dunlap also received a Certificate of Recognition, along with Officer Kelly McKenney, for their attempt to revive an individual on May 13 after responding to a hang-up call at 1045 Island Pond Road.
Officer Kenneth Chamberlain Jr. also was presented a Certificate of Recognition for his exemplary performance in assisting the training unit with employment background investigations while also doing his primary duties as a traffic investigator.