Belvidere firefighters honored at State Capitol for life-saving heroism


Eight Belvidere firefighters were honored by the State for their life-saving actions during a fatal apartment fire.

The State Fire Marshall held an awards ceremony on the capitol lawn Tuesday morning. Organizers started by remembering firefighters whose lives were lost in the line of duty last year.

They then handed out awards to firefighters who made life-saving rescues.

Belvidere’s Aaron Pihl, Jeff Vaughan and Shawn Schadle received the Firefighter’s Medal of Honor.

They were among eight officers who responded to an apartment fire on West Jackson Street in March of 2017.

The firefighters rescued eight people who were trapped inside. One person was killed.

Schadle says he’s reminded of the people he’s saved on a regular basis.

“It’s humbling to be honored, but we’re just thankful that, more importantly, we were able to do our job well and save those people,” Schadle said. “One of the unresponsive children was my daughter’s classmate. So, I see her all the time at school when I pick my daughter up.”

Five other Belvidere firefighters were given the Firefighter’s Excellence Award.

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