ALBUQUERQUE – A police officer and two firefighters whose actions last week in two separate incidents potentially saved dozens of lives were recognized Friday by Mayor Richard J. Berry for their heroic efforts.
Fire Lt. Kevin Ferguson, firefighter Michael Kolbusz and police officer Eric Martinez received this week’s Friday’s Heroes award. Every week Mayor Berry recognizes public safety employees who acted heroically and go above and beyond the call of duty.
Ferguson and Kolbusz were dispatched to the Western Palisades apartment complex in the 1700 block of Atrisco NW on Dec. 30 on a report that two adults and two children were suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. The firefighters assigned to Rescue 7 couldn’t locate any victims and the apartment number they had on the 911 call didn’t exist. But they didn’t give up. They stayed at the apartment complex, found a property manager and were able to gain entry to one of the apartments. Once inside they found a stove opened that was being used to heat the apartment. They also discovered that all of the residents in the apartment complex were using their ovens to heat their homes and could be suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Ferguson and Kolbusz called in the cavalry and eventually 10 people were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning. Public Safety Director Darren White declared the property substandard on Jan. 4 after the Safe City Strike Force inspected all of the apartments and found hundreds of violations of city code.
“Had it not been for the crew of Rescue 7, I fear the outcome would have been much worse,” White said. “Their quick intervention that evening mitigated what could have been a fatal situation.”
That same day officer Martinez was shot while responding to a domestic dispute in an apartment complex. While Martinez and other officers were conducting an investigation, a car drove through the parking lot and one of the passengers fired a shotgun striking Martinez in the leg.
Though injured, Martinez was able to return fire and one shot hit a suspect. He was also able rip off a pant leg and started treating his wound.
“More people could have been hit or killed had Officer Martinez not returned fire,” Police Chief Ray Schultz said. “He stayed calm and was able to protect himself and the public.”