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Two honored for heroism during fire

Jordan Beck | Daily Press Escanaba Public Safety Director Robert LaMarche, left, receives a life saving award during a recent meeting of the Escanaba City Council. The award was presented to LaMarche by other members of the department — including Captain Darin Hunter, right.

ESCANABA — A Delta County citizen and the director of Escanaba Public Safety were recently honored for actions they took during a fire at the Delta Inn Motel this spring.

A fire broke out at the motel on the afternoon of April 30. The building was fully engulfed in flames during the fire, and portions of U.S. 2 and 41 had to be closed while firefighters worked to control the blaze. The fire killed two people and injured several others.

During a regular meeting of the Escanaba City Council on July 16, Delta County resident Angel Lozada was given an outstanding citizen award from Escanaba Public Safety and a key to the city from the City of Escanaba in appreciation for what he did during the fire.

“Obviously, everyone here knows we had a very tragic event that took place a few months back at the motel. Fortunately, there was an angel coming down that road — a literal angel, his name is Angel,” Escanaba Public Safety Director Robert LaMarche said.

According to LaMarche, Lozada helped people escape from the burning motel before Escanaba Public Safety arrived at the scene, putting his own life in danger in the process.

“He actually went in there and started saving people and doing everything he can,” LaMarche said.

Lozada went on to assist emergency responders as they faced what LaMarche described as “one of the worst fires” he had dealt with in a career spanning more than two decades.

“After he was rescuing people on the lower level, he actually came around the back of the building and started helping us also — pulling hoses, ladders, getting people off the roof as they were jumping down,” LaMarche said.

Mayor Marc Tall presented the key to the city to Lozada.

“Angel, I want to thank you for being part of our community,” Tall said.

Lozada spoke briefly to express his gratitude for the award.

“I would just like to say thank you,” he said.

Later in the meeting, a life saving award was presented to LaMarche by Escanaba Public Safety.

Director LaMarche braved the elements by climbing the ladder in the clothes you see him wearing tonight, to help a gentleman that had his clothes literally burned off from his skin,” Captain Darin Hunter of Escanaba Public Safety said.

Hunter said LaMarche’s shoulder was injured during the rescue.

“Although he (was) injured and was in pain, he grimaced through it and still continued to lead us,” he said.

LaMarche’s actions during the fire will serve as an inspirational example for both established and incoming public safety officers, Hunter said.

“It was his actions that inspire us on a daily basis to know that public safety is here for you — each and every one of you,” he said.

After Hunter’s presentation, LaMarche shared a few additional comments. He voiced his appreciation to Lozada and other officers who were on the scene of the fire for their efforts.

“I can’t thank them enough,” he said.

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