Sanitization works given senate liberty medal


NEW HARTFORD, N.Y.  (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY-TV) – Senator Joseph Griffo was in New Hartford on Tuesday July 27th to recognize employees of local sanitation companies whose actions are said to have saved lives at fires in New Hartford and Utica. Several employees were given senate liberty medals that are given out to recognize individuals who have performed heroic or humanitarian acts on behalf of other New Yorkers.

“The individuals receiving this prestigious recognition today have deserved and earned this for their remarkable courage, bravery, quick thinking, and the initiative they all showed and what they did to save these lives,” said Senator Griffo.

Shawn Reesh and Joseph Phillips were working for Marshall Przluke Inc. in New Hartford on May 11 when they spotted smoke coming from a garage. The two men alerted the residents inside that home, attempted to extinguish the fire, and contacted 911.

“The New Hartford community is very grateful for the actions of Shawn and Joseph that morning of May 11,” said Chief Nicotera from the New Hartford fire department. “Their quick actions really made a difference in a family’s life by getting them out of the structure that was definitely well involved with fire and was minutes from becoming something more tragic.” – Senator Joseph Griffo

That same week, on May 12, three sanitation workers from Controlled Waste Systems Inc. (CWSI) were working in Utica when they saw smoke coming from a home nearby. Adam Sheldon, Daniel Cruz, and Beau Haden alerted the family inside the home, got them out safely, and contacted emergency services.

Adam Sheldon, a driver for CWSI, said, “My initial thought was get the people out. People could get hurt. It’s 1:30 in the morning. I didn’t know what the response time from the fire department would be at that time, but you know if we don’t help then who will, because there’s nobody awake at 1:30 in the morning.”

Assistant Chief Noon from the Utica Fire Department agreed that their actions at an early hour were crucial to saving that family. “Again at 1 in the morning there’s no telling for how long it would take for someone to notice that fire, and for the residents it could be too late,” he said.

Chief Noon says that if you see something, say something. It could be the difference between life or death.

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