Seven Scranton Police Officers Win Courage Awards

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SCRANTON -- Seven Scranton police officers were honored for their heroic efforts in rescuing victims from house fires in the Electric City.

The officers were among those being honored for their rescue efforts at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Bethlehem during the Seventh Annual Valley Preferred Spirit of Courage Awards Celebration.

It was a celebration meant for heroes but for the award winners, they say they were just doing their job.

“At that moment, you`re not concerned with winning awards or being recognized,” said patrolman Francis McLane. “It`s more about just being there each and every day for the people of Scranton.”

Four of the officers, Corporal Thomas McDonald, and Patrolmen Chris Kaushas, Joseph Kearney and Dan Schaufler responded to a house fire on Beech Street on April 9.

With people stranded on a second floor roof, the officers caught them as they jumped.

“The smoke coming out of the window was, out of the house, was just starting to overcome everybody. You could barely see the people,” said Cpl. McDonald. “So I`m just glad we were able to do something to help them get off that roof and save them.”

A family member at the fire scene had a heart attack.

Patrolman Dan Schaufler drove the ambulance as paramedics revived the man.

“Fortunately I was a paramedic for many years before I became a police officer so... that wasn`t anything I wasn`t used to,” said Shaufler. “I knew the paramedics on scene and I knew they needed an extra hand.”

Patrolman William O`Brien rescued a family and their dog from a burning home on Luzerne Street on July 16.

Corporal Robert Stanek and Patrolman Francis McLane pulled the people inside a home South Main Avenue to safety on March 30.

“The most important part is that you go home each and every day, the men and women that you work with go home each and every day, and that when it matters you make it count,” said McLane.

The Spirit of Courage Awards Ceremony was started by Lehigh Valley Hospital and the Burn Prevention Network to recognize those who go above and beyond in rescue efforts.

This year, 14 people received an award and with seven of them Scranton police officers, that means half of this year`s honorees came from the Electric City.