WASHINGTON — The deputy chief of the Northern Tazewell Fire Department has been honored by the state for a heroic act that didn't happen in the area he serves.
Mike Vissering received a Medal of Valor award Tuesday in Springfield at the 26th annual Illinois Fallen Firefighter Memorial and Fire Fighting Medal of Valor Awards Ceremony.
Vissering, one of eight firefighters presented a Medal of Valor for actions during 2018, was honored for pulling an elderly man from a house fire, according to Northern Tazewell Fire Chief Kris Baker.
In a Facebook post, Baker said Vissering was driving through the Putnam County community of Magnolia on June 8, 2018, when he saw smoke and thought "that doesn't look right."
Vissering followed the smoke, went to a home where he found an attached garage on fire, and called 911.
While looking through a window in the home, Vissering saw an elderly man sitting in a chair in the living room as smoke was filling the home.
The man did not respond when Vissering banged on the window, so Vissering broke through three doors and pulled the man out of the home before the fire reached the living room.
Vissering called 911 again to update first responders on the situation and when emergency medical personnel arrived, Vissering handed off patient care of the man to them. Vissering then helped firemen deploy a hose line and secure a water supply.
The Magnolia Fire Department presented Vissering with a plaque at a ceremony last fall. The man Vissering pulled out of the home was at the ceremony and thanked Vissering in person.
"The Northern Tazewell Fire Department is so lucky to have a member and leader like this young man," Baker said about Vissering. "If you see him out in the community, make sure you shake his hand and congratulate him on this amazing award."
Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.