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Gas City native honored for fire rescue

HEROIC EFFORTS: Gas City native and Crown Point firefighter Todd Bennett, left, poses with Crown Point Mayor David Uran. Bennett was one of 15 firefighters, along with other law enforcement officials, honored for their efforts in an October fire at Monday's Crown Point City Council meeting. Bennett helped rescue two individuals.

BY Spencer Durham - sdurham@chronicle-tribune.com

All of the training it takes to be a firefighter paid off for Todd Bennett on Oct. 20.

The Gas City native and Crown Point firefighter helped rescue two people trapped in an apartment building during a fire in October and was recognized on Monday by the Crown Point City Council.

Crews from Crown Point Fire Rescue, Crown Point Police Department and Merrillville Fire Department responded to an early morning apartment fire on Oct. 20.

The fire was in a former church that had been converted into an apartment complex, according to a report by The (Munster) Times.

Bennett said he and another firefighter located two people, a husband and wife, according to The Times, during a primary search. He said he heard faint calls for help.

“I thought they were coming from behind me,” Bennett said.

Then he heard the calls again.

In just a few minutes, Bennett said they were able to locate the two using thermal imaging. The couple was unconscious, which made rescuing them more difficult.

“To my knowledge, they are fully recovered,” Bennett said.

The Times reported that the Indiana State Fire Marshal ruled the cause undetermined, however the Lake County prosecutor filed charges of criminal mischief and criminal recklessness against a man who allegedly admitted to police that he fell asleep in a hallway with a lit cigarette.

Bennett is a Misssinewa graduate who has been with Crown Point Fire Rescue for about two years. He said he moved to Crown Point to follow his dream of being a firefighter.

“I wanted to be a career fireman,” he said. “... I was willing to go about anywhere to be a fireman. … I knew I wanted to be a fireman from day one.”

Bennett was one of 15 firefighters recognized by the Crown Point City Council on Monday.

“It's not just a job, it's a career and a lifestyle,” said Crown Point Fire Chief Dave Crane. “They all take their job to heart. Doing rescues is not common in our area but we had three people trapped that day and to have three people rescued all with good outcomes is great.”

“It was definitely awesome,” Bennett said of the honor. “It feels good to be recognized … (All the) training pays for itself right there.”