Peoria Firefighters being honored statewide for their heroism

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — In the early hours of April 17, 2023, the Peoria fire department responded to a house fire on West Stephen Drive in Northwest Peoria.

91-year-old Louise Johnson fell unconscious, leaving her trapped in the blaze. Capt. Nick Hansen and firefighter Tobi Roderick then sprung into action and rescued the woman from her house, saving her life.

Tuesday, they were honored by the Illinois State Fire Marshal, receiving the Firefighting Medal of Valor.

“A lot of our other brothers and sisters would have done the same. I just had to be the one that was there. I’m glad I was the one that got to experience it. I’m just really honored to be the one up here, just right place, right time,” said Hansen.

Their rapid rescue, tactical skills and zero hesitation in risking their own life is exactly what they’ve trained for.

“What it takes to be able to perform on these type of calls in these scenes are training. That’s the bedrock and the platform that allows firefighters professional in nature to have any level of success,” said Peoria Fire Chief Shawn Sollberger.

This is the first time in more than 20 years that Peoria firefighters received the Medal of Valor.

Both will be honored at the 31st annual Firefighting Medal of Honor awards ceremony on May 14 at the Bank of Springfield.