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St. Lawrence County fire chiefs honor three

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HEUVELTON — St. Lawrence County’s fire chiefs got together Saturday night to tell three firefighters they were the tops last year: Lisbon Fire Chief John A. McLear, Brier Hill Fire Chief Shawn R. Macaulay and Heuvelton firefighter Wayne Hutton.

The three volunteer firefighters were named the St. Lawrence County Fire Chiefs Association Firemen of the Year for 2011 at the organization’s annual dinner in the Heuvelton fire hall.

The trio’s risky team rescue of Bernard C. Compo from his burning home, 328 McIntyre Road, town of Oswegatchie, on Feb. 2, 2010, was the inspiration for the unprecedented triple honor.

“I think it’s one of those things where mutual aid comes into play,” said Dennis E. Eickhoff, the association’s president. “And, hopefully, you get a good result.”

Mr. McLear and Mr. Macaulay revealed similar philosophies about firefighting when asked to explain their actions that February morning.

“I think the adrenaline takes over,” said Mr. McLear, 51, a 30-year firefighter and chief for two decades. “I think it’s in the size-up when you get to the scene.”

Mr. Macaulay, 44, has been chief for eight of his 20 firefighting years.

“I don’t know,” he said, recalling his response, which came while on the job with the state Department of Transportation. “I didn’t think about it. I just did it. The adrenaline takes over.”

Mr. Hutton, 37, a five-year veteran of the Heuvelton department, could not attend. He was represented by his 13-year-old daughter, Kaylee.

The awards began in 1970 with the late Potsdam firefighter James J. Doyle being named the first honoree. Last year’s award went to Colton firefighter Arthur “Scott” McRobbie.

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