La Salle firefighter Capt. Dean Tieman didn’t know about the presentation planned at the La Salle fire station in his honor. It was a surprise.
But his family was there as Tieman was awarded the Liberty Mutual Firemark Award for Heroism on Thursday for his role in rescuing three people from a house fire this past summer.
Tieman said he was “surprised,” and that he appreciated the recognition, but that “you don’t do it for that reason.”
The award is presented annually to firefighters throughout the country “who best represent their communities through courageous acts and who best demonstrate the firefighter’s selfless spirit,” according to a Liberty Mutual news release.
The award puts the fire department in the running for a national award — a $10,000 grant from Liberty Mutual. The winning department is expected be announced in October.
Tieman was nominated for the award by his wife, Dawn, who said she found out about the award by seeing it on Facebook.
“He is my hero,” Dawn Tieman said of her husband. “Through the course of his 25-plus years on the force, he’s always thinking of others before himself. He’s put himself in a lot of dangerous situations to help people.”
According to previous NewsTribune reports, La Salle firefighters, paramedics and police responded at 3:04 a.m. June 2 to a two-story house in the 300 block of Hennepin Street that was fully involved in fire.
With choking, black smoke filling the house and fire spreading, the residents, Amanda Milton, 38, and a 16-year-old girl and 13-year-old boy were rescued through an upstairs window. The ground beneath the window was uneven, so the rescue ladder had to be placed to the side of the window.
Tieman was on the ladder, and he helped the three residents down the ladder one by one to be assisted by the other team members.
“It’s much-deserving,” fire chief Andy Bacidore said of the award in a separate interview. “He was instrumental in rescuing those people.”
Bacidore emphasized that the rescue was a team effort, recalling the recognition given to Tieman and seven other emergency personnel at the July 2 city council meeting. According to the report, Peru firefighters responded through the auto-aid system, and firefighters from Oglesby, Utica, Spring Valley and Troy Grove also responded.
“We’re fortunate to have good people in our department,” Bacidore said. “The situation could have been much worse.”