Fire Fighters of the Year

(From left to right) Rotary President Lynne Lindsey stands with interim Fire Chief Tony Papoutsis and Firefighters of the Year Capt. Jack Allen and John Stancel.

The Roswell Fire Department has named Capt. Jack Allen and John Stancel Fire Fighters of the Year due to the duo's heroic actions during a house fire.

Allen and Stancel were recognized by interim fire Chief Tony Papoutsis during the April 15 Roswell Rotary meeting who spoke of the tense call the duo responded to. 

Last June, a call came through the station at around 1 a.m. while Allen and Stancel were asleep at the station. The call was for a two-story structure fire, where, they were told, a person was trapped inside the basement. 

"Now right off the bat, they know that when they come off that truck, they have an idea in their head of what they have to do and how they have to do it," Papoutsis said. "The variable is when they get there, they had to make that plan. They can't make the plan before they get there because they don't know what's what they're looking at."

When Allen, Stancel and the other fire fighters arrive, fire is billowing out of the windows from 80% of the building. The heat was so scalding that it melted the plastic off the headlights and blistered paint from the fire trucks parked in the streets nearly 30 feet away.

"They searched the basement, they found an elderly gentleman, and they pulled the old elderly gentleman and his dog to safety," Papoutsis said. "And they lived."

Once Allen and Stancel pulled the man and his dog out of the basement and into the yard, they realized just how hot it was. Allen said the picked the man back up and brought him across the street to the medical unit who then took him to the hospital. 

"This gentleman is very lucky to be alive," Allen said. "And we're glad we were able to help him."

Allen has been with the Roswell Fire Department since 1998 and is also a fire fighter in Forsyth County. Stancel has been with the department for several years and was at the Alpharetta Fire Department prior to coming to Roswell. Both Stancel's father and uncle were fire fighters at Alpharetta as well. Stancel also works at Forsyth County Fire Department as a driver. 

"The firefighters in Roswell — they're still here, they're here to serve you and they will be for a long time," Papoutsis said. 

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