Saving Lives in Lancaster: A Hero's Honor

Man honored for saving lives in Lancaster

LANCASTER, N.Y. - On the early morning of June 29, Dennis McCallum looked outside his window and saw a bright orange flash.

His neighbors' apartment building had caught fire. Flames were everywhere, tearing through the back of the brick structure on Central Avenue in the heart of the village of Lancaster.

Five people were inside.

"The whole porch was engulfed," McCallum said. "Everyone was in there sleeping."

Shortly after the fire started, McCallum noticed a mysterious man -- a Good Samaritan, perhaps -- arrive on scene and run up the stairs toward the flames, frantically awaking them from their deep sleep. 

But McCallum had no clue who this man was.

"He could have been anyone," McCallum said.

That person, it turned out, was a volunteer firefighter for the Depew Fire Department.

His name is Marc Adamberger, and if you ask him why he ran into that building on June 29, he'll just tell you he was doing his job.

"I did what the rest of us are trained to do," Adamberger said. "Just happened to be that I was there at the right time."

All five people made it out of the building safely. On Wednesday evening, Erie County Legislator Ted Morton and the Depew Fire Department presented Adamberger with an honor for his heroic actions.

Adamberger really was at the right place at the right time. He wasn't on duty; he was just eating a late-night meal next door at Eddie Ryan's on Central Avenue. When he walked outside of the restaurant, he heard a commotion that caught his attention.

"I heard a woman screaming," Adamberger said. "And looked around the corner, and saw the fire in the rear of the building. Without even thinking, I jumped out there, made sure everyone got out and closed the windows best I could."

Adamberger reported the fire immediately, and he was credited with helping prevent the fire from spreading to nearby businesses and homes. McCallum, the next-door neighbor, didn't suffer any damage at his home. He said his daughter also helped assist with the situation after the fire broke out next door.

Adamberger's actions, meanwhile, were no surprise to his fire chief, Scott Wegst.

"Marc is a great firefighter. Very dedicated. He's been a member for a long time," Wegst said. "So it's nothing new to expect that from Marc. Everyone cheered him on, and it was a great moment for him."

Of course, his fellow firefighters aren't about to let him get away without ribbing him a bit. It's not everyday a Depew firefighter makes it on the 11 p.m. news, after all.

On this night, though, Adamberger had television cameras following his every move.

"I didn't really expect any of this. To me, it as no big deal. I didn't want any of this," Adamberger said. "But here I am."

© 2017 WGRZ-TV


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