Mayor Kevin Settembrino and the Middletown Township Committee honored Keith Thornton, a Security Officer with Marion Security Agency and Patrolman Nicholas Manochio for their heroic efforts in rescuing Gladys Bowden, 88, from her burning home in Shadow Lake Village on Saturday night, December 15.
The audience in the full meeting room at Town Hall gave Thornton and Manochio a standing ovation following Settembrino’s remarks and the presentation of their Life Saving Awards.
Thornton responded to the fire while working security at Shadow Lawn Village, a 55 and over age restricted community in Middletown. Upon arriving at the fire at 54 Friendship Court, George, 91,was outside the home and told Thorton that Gladys, 88 was still in the home. Thorton entered the home, located Gladys on the kitchen floor and started moving her toward the door when he was overcome by smoke and evacuated to get air.
Patrolman Manochio was the first official on the scene and entered the home after speaking with Thornton. The patrolman said he found of the floor, leaning against the wall and was able to lift her and get her out of the smoke filled burning house.
Thornton told MMM that he has no experience or training in fire rescues. “I realized that a life needed to be saved and I just went,” he said.
“Keith was not trained or expected to do what he did,” said his boss, Tony Frusco, VP of Operations at Marion Security Agency. “As a certified Security Officer, Keith is trained in fire prevention and awareness. The SORA program (Security Officer Registration Act) does not require officers to be trained in fire rescue.”
Frusco said that in addition to his recognition from Middletown, Thornton received a certificate and a monetary award from his employer, Marion Security.
Settembrino noted that Patrolman Manochio has been involved in several high profile incidents in his three years with the MTPD. In addition to saving Mrs. Bowden’s life on Saturday night, Manochio has delivered a baby in a car, administered CPR to a fall victim who went in to cardiac arrest and he rescue a dog from a frozen creek.
Middletown Fire Chief Ryan Clark said that the volunteers from Belford Independent Fire Company, Middletown #1 Fire Company, River Plaza Fire Company, Lincroft Fire Company, Middletown Twp. Fire Department Air Unit, and the Middletown Twp. Fire Marshall’s Office extinguished the fire in about two hours.