Long Island firefighter honored for heroism

May 28, 2013 2:34:01 PM PDT
A special honor for a Long Island firefighter.

He's helped save lives during a fire, and even lost his own home to a blaze.

Tuesday, the Selden Fire Department received a grant in his honor.

This past March, firefighter Michael Cosgrove responded to a dramatic explosion, only to discover it was his very own home.

And after 15 years of helping others, suddenly he was the victim.

"My 7 and 9 year old who were in the home, and I have to explain to them that there's nothing left," said Cosgrove that day.

Since then, as the Cosgroves have waited to rebuild their house, they've been living in a trailer on their front lawn. Life has not been easy.

"There's been some really bad lows and some highs along the way," Cosgrove said.

But Tuesday was a very big 'high'.

Insurance giant Liberty Mutual awarded the volunteer a national honor for valor, from his actions fighting a different fire, two years earlier.

"It was a very heroic thing that he did," said Selden Fire Chief Joseph Leavens. "It was a few houses from his. Rather than pass the house and come to the fire house he stopped, because he saw somebody was hanging out a window."

Back in 2011, Cosgrove used a painter's ladder to climb up to the man, and with bare hands, reached into the flames, suffering severe burns.

The victim would not survive, but the act of heroism lived on.

"Mike's acts of courage on that particular day were outstanding," said Liberty Mutual's Edward Beekman.

The award means $10,000 to the Selden Fire Department, which will use the money to install better markings for hydrants, making them visible even if buried by snow, which was a big problem last winter.

Liberty Mutual says this award was actually determined before the Cosgroves personal tragedy in this house fire.

Now, the family is off to Disney World. And after what they've been through, they definitely deserve that.