WEST CHICAGO – Two West Chicago residents were recognized by city officials after they helped save the lives of their neighbors during a fire, according to a city news release.
Residents Jessie Schram, 22, and James O'Grady, 16, received the city's first ever Citizen Life Saving Award from Mayor Ruben Pineda and Police Chief Laz Perez at the May 20 West Chicago City Council meeting.
On April 4, Schram and O'Grady noticed smoke and flames coming from their neighbors' home in the 2400 block of Alamance Drive. After alerting the family to the fire, they helped evacuate those inside, which included five members of the Martino family and their pets.
At the city council meeting, homeowner Frank Martino thanked the two for saving his family's lives. He said the smoke detectors in his home had not activated for a variety of reasons, so prior to his neighbors' intervention, none of his family members were aware of the fire. After they evacuated the home, an explosion engulfed the entire residence in flames.
"The city of West Chicago and the West Chicago Police Department extend a warm thank you for your heroic actions and selfless acts, which saved the lives of members of our community," Perez said.
Schram and O'Grady each received a plaque and letter of recognition.