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.
`One of the things we try and do is recognize hometown heroes who help their communities and go above and beyond,` he said.
Bethlehem police said an investigation in conjunction with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms of the explosions and subsequent fire is ongoing, and lab tests on materials removed from the site have come back.
`They do have the results from that, but are not going to release what the results are at this point,` Heffernan said.
Investigators believe chemicals were involved in the explosion, which originated in the basement, and were doing tests to find out what chemicals were involved.
The Spotlight reported on Feb. 17 that Michelle Sanchez had refused to allow investigators access to her son for an interview. Officials had been waiting for the health of the 15-year-old Bethlehem High School student to improve.