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Mother, EMT recognized for role in Dec. fire

Lab tests on fire are complete but unreleased

Michelle Sanchez, the mother of a Delmar teen who was critically burned in a December house fire, has been honored as a \Keep America Running Hometown Hero for her role in the incident that claimed her Adams Place home.

Emergency workers who removed Keenan Sanchez from the home after they responded to reports of explosions there on Dec. 19 arrived to find his mother attending to him, according to police.

"She was still in the house when we arrivedthe mom was attending to the son," said Lt. Thomas Heffernan of the Bethlehem Police Department. "She was told to leave the residence for her safety, then our officers were able to drag him out the door to safety."

The Spotlight made inquiries to emergency officials after a press release from PR firm Ed Lewi Associates indicated Sanchez, a volunteer EMT with the Delmar Fire Department, had "pulled her son, Keenan, to safety from their home," an apparent contradiction of reports made after the fire.

BPD Officers Kenneth Beck and George Travis and Albany County EMT Eric Kerr were later publicly recognized for their role in extricating Sanchez from the home.

Sanchez's friend Maureen Cooley nominated her as a Hometown Hero.

"She's a super person," Cooley said of Sanchez. "[The award ceremony] was a big lift for her, the whole family."

Michelle Sanchez declined comment for this report.

Sanchez received a year's worth of free coffee with the "Hometown Hero" award, which was presented Sunday, Feb. 28, at the Times Union Center on Siena Athletics "Firefighter Night." The award is a joint initiative between Siena Athletics and Dunkin' Donuts.

Finalists Matthew Hunt of the Athens Fire Department and Danny McCoy of the Albany Fire Department received Dunkin' Donuts gift cards.

Sunday's award was the final installment of the "Hometown Heroes" program, according to Siena Athletics spokesman Mike Demos. The two previous awards recognized teachers and police officers.

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