By Seth Daniel
The Chelsea Police Department is recommending the highest honors for Officer Dave Delaney after he selflessly dashed into a burning building on Cottage Street last Friday and helped to get two boys – both unaware of the fire – to safety.
“I kept pounding on the door and it was a very heavy door, so I didn’t think I could break it down,” Delaney told the Record. “After about 30 seconds of pounding, they finally opened up. They were in their underwear and had been playing video games in a back room. I felt bad for them because they were in their underwear and the news was outside, so I quickly grabbed these giant furry blankets and wrapped them up. They said, ‘Where are we going?’ I told them there’s a huge fire and we had to get out of there quickly. They had no idea.”
Delaney, 27, has been on the force about four years, and his father, a lieutenant, is also on the force. He also has two cousins on the Fire Department as well.
Around 5:30 p.m. on Friday, he was working a utility detail when a pedestrian came up and alerted him to a fire. Another person ran up and told him where the fire was at, and Delaney ran to the scene.
Once on the scene, he encountered a civilian who was in the process of busting down the front door to get inside, as there were residents in there.
On the back porch, a huge blaze had ignited and was being fanned by the wind – moving fast into the third and second floor apartments.
The civilian alerted the people on the third floor and helped them to get out, but no one was opening the second floor apartment and Delaney had a feeling someone was in there.
The feeling was correct. The two young boys, 8 and 13, had not immediately heard him knocking. However, they did finally answer the door and it likely saved their lives.
His persistence came from a lesson taught by St. Bevere during a major fire on Arlington Street a few years ago that consumed several homes. In that fire, Bevere said to go to all the houses and knock on the door until someone answers because someone could be in there and not immediately hear the banging.
That, he said, was in the back of his mind as he continued pounding on the door Friday and the fire continued to come closer.
In all, Delaney said he doesn’t feel he did anything out of the ordinary.
“I feel like anyone in that situation would do the same thing,” he said. “The civilian with me did the same thing. I really don’t feel it’s heroic or anything.”
As soon as Delaney got out of the house, Chelsea Fire arrived and the building was closed off for evacuations. Fire crews began fighting the fire at that point. The boys’ father arrived on scene about 20 minutes after they had been evacuated.
Sgt. Thomas McLain indicated he would submit Delaney for the Lifesaving Medal due to his actions.
“I would like to recommend Officer David Delaney for the lifesaving medal based off his actions and the Department criteria for the medal highlighted above,” he wrote. “Officer Delaney’s action not only reflects well on himself but on the Department as a whole. It also highlights the dedication to saving lives at the cost of their own safety the members of the CPD display on a daily basis whether it be working a patrol assignment, investigating a crime or working a private detail as in this case.”
Police Officer Dave Delaney is being recommended for the Department Lifesaving Award for helping to get two boys out of a burning building on Cottage Street last Friday.