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Man who saved co-worker’s life after B-17 crash at Bradley International Airport awarded Carnegie Medal for heroism; one of 3 recipients from Connecticut

Carnegie Medal (Robert Prummel/WikiCommons)

Three Connecticut residents including an Enfield man who saved a co-worker’s life after a B-17 bomber crashed at Bradley International Airport in 2019 will receive the Carnegie Medal for heroism, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission announced recently.

Andrew J. Sullivan, 29, entered a burning building to rescue his 51-year-old co-worker after the WWII-era plane went down as it tried to return back to the Windsor Locks airport after a brief flight, according to a news release.

The plane crashed into a storage facility where the airport kept de-icing equipment and then exploded, killing seven of 13 people on board and injuring the other six, on Oct. 2, 2019.

Airport employees evacuated the premises but Sullivan noticed a man who worked in the burning building was missing. While searching for the 51-year-old, he heard cries for help inside the building.

Sullivan then “ripped a hole in a vinyl maintenance flap and entered” the building, the news release said.

“In thick, black smoke, Sullivan called out and shone his cell phone flashlight,” it added. “Sullivan reached the man at a point about 70 feet inside the building. Sullivan led them back to the torn flap where they exited to safety. Sullivan later recovered from burns to his fingertips and forehead.”

The Carnegie Medal was also awarded to John A. Franco of Willington; the 80-year-old was credited with interrupting an attack on his neighbor, 62-year-old Ted DeMers, by a man wielding a samurai sword on May 22, 2020.

“Franco shouted at the assailant to stop the assault,” the news release said. “Franco moved closer to the scene; his neighbor had been severely injured, with wounds to his hands, head, and upper body. The assailant, who was larger than Franco, turned his attention to Franco and attacked, slashing at his hands and head. Franco fell near his driveway, and other neighbors responded.”

DeMers died on the way to the hospital. Franco spent a week in the hospital and another week at a rehabilitation center. He underwent surgery on both hands, and his left hand remains disabled, the release said.

The suspect, Peter Manfredonia, who was 23 and from Newtown and had been studying at UConn, was arrested at a Maryland truck stop days later after a multistate manhunt. He was charged with DeMers’ murder and the attack on Franco as well as the killing of Nicholas Eisele of Newtown, a 23-year-old acquaintance, in Derby.

Another Connecticut man, Jonathan L. Goldfarb, 26, of Fairfield, and his brother, Matthew Goldfarb, of Milford, New Jersey, will receive the Carnegie Medal after they saved a 24-year-old man from freezing waters when he dove into Lake Mohegan in late December 2019 to save his dog that fell through the ice.

The brothers entered the water to help, the news release said. Goldfarb grabbed the man while his brother helped saved the dog.

More than 10,200 Carnegie Medals have been awarded since 1904. The award is given to individuals to put themselves in dangerous situations to help save another person’s life.


(c) 2021 The Hartford Courant

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