TOPEKA — Each year, the Office of the State Fire Marshal joins with the Kansas State Association of Fire Chiefs and Kansas State Firefighters Association to honor a firefighter for heroic actions above and beyond the call of duty. This year, the agencies are delighted to bestow the 2016 Tom McGaughey Fire Service Award upon Firefighter Jesse Janzen of the Wichita Fire Department.
Firefighter Janzen was nominated for the award by Wichita Fire Chief Ronald Blackwell for Janzen’s life-saving actions while operating at an apartment fire with a report of persons trapped. Firefighter Janzen heard screams from self-evacuated occupants who were indicating that an apartment on the first floor was still occupied. Janzen walked through a wall of flames, entered the apartment and was able to locate an elderly female, conscious, lying in her bed. Janzen led the woman to safety through an unburned portion of the building.
The Tom McGaughey Fire Service Award recognizes exemplary accomplishments and acts of heroism by firefighters and other persons at fire-related incidents in Kansas. The individual is recognized for their acts above and beyond their basic duties and responsibilities, and for exemplifying the finest traditions of the fire service. The award is named in memory of Wichita Fire Chief Tom McGaughey who perished in a fire, along with three others (Chief Fire Inspector Merle O. Wells, Firefighter Jimmy L. Austin and Firefighter Dale J. Mishler) at the Yingling Auto Dealership on November 21, 1968.
“We are so thankful for the heroism of firefighters such as Jesse Janzen who put their lives on the line to save the lives and property of their fellow Kansans,” said Doug Jorgensen, State Fire Marshal. “We are happy to recognize Firefighter Janzen with the Tom McGaughey Fire Service Award and thank him for his dedicated service to the citizens of Wichita.”