TFPD firefighters honored for heroism
By Pat Pratt
The Troy Fire Protection District at its April meeting honored two firefighters for life-saving efforts during a residential fire in September.
Braden Patterson and Mathew Bagwell were awarded the Firefighter’s Medal of Valor for heroic actions on Sept. 22 during a residential structure fire at 523 Wood Thrush in Troy. The award is given only to firefighters who perform an act of extreme heroism in the face of great personal risk.
“I would like to thank you for the sacrifices you have made in the name of this department and the communities we serve,” Assistant Chief Ed Smith said during the award. “We are all proud and consider it an honor to serve with you.”
Patterson and Bagwell were among the first firefighters to arrive on the scene of the blaze that afternoon, a single-story residential duplex. When they arrived, they encountered heavy fire and smoke in the building and the possibility that two people were still inside.
Incident commanders asked the firefighters to attempt entry and search the residence if possible. The two firefighters entered the dwelling through a rear bedroom window as fire consumed the building. Inside, they located an unconscious man.
The two firefighters pulled the man to safety and paramedics waited outside. However, after doing so, the building became unsafe due to heavy fire and the firefighters were not able to enter again to search for the second person inside.
“If not for the selfless actions of firefighters Matthew Bagwell and Braden Patterson on this September day, putting themselves at extreme personal risk, this structure fire would have resulted in two fatalities,” Smith said.
While firefighters had no way of knowing at the time, the man pulled from the blaze was later criminally charged with setting the fire. The woman who perished in the fire was the resident of the duplex and the victim of his alleged crimes.
Michael Sloan Jr., 41, faces first-degree murder and other felonies in the death of 69-year-old Susanne Tomlinson of Troy. After the fire he was transported to a St. Louis-area hospital where he remained until he recovered from his injuries on Oct. 31. He is currently held in the Madison County Jail without the possibility of bond.
Prior to her death, Sloan was dating Tomlinson’s daughter. Charging documents show he allegedly bound the daughter with zip ties and poured gasoline on her. After she was able to escape to her neighbors, Sloan went to Susanne Tomlinson’s duplex and set the residence on fire.
Also honored during the meeting (see additional photos) were Darin Hartman, who is leaving TFPD after many years and Corey Mahan, who was hired to the district full-time this month.