Saratoga County

Shen grad cited in rescue: Giroux rapels to save workmen in Yonkers mishap

A firefighter originally from Clifton Park is being hailed as a hero after he performed a high-rise

A firefighter originally from Clifton Park is being hailed as a hero after he performed a high-rise rescue in Yonkers on Friday afternoon.

Yonkers Fire Department firefighter Michael Giroux, a Shenendehowa High School graduate in 1988, rappelled from the roof of a 20-plus-story building to save two workers hanging over 100 feet in the air on safety ropes after the scaffolding they were working from collapsed.

Giroux secured the first man to a line, then rappelled with him to the street, where he was taken off in an ambulance. The second man was taken down in similar fashion, but he first had to be freed from the remnants of the scaffold and the various ropes and belts entangling him.

The event unfolded as breaking news on television in the five boroughs of New York and the surrounding suburbs, according to Anne Giroux, Michael’s mother, who learned of the harrowing feat from relatives downstate.

“It was a little scary to see as a mom,” said Anne, Saturday afternoon from her home. She still lives in Clifton Park with her husband and Michael’s father, Richard.

Anne said that her son, who was an alternate for the Olympic Bobsled team in 1988 and played football at the University of Albany, has always been very confident, is a team player and is very humble. She said that when she talked to her son after the incident he told her, “It was just my job, mom.”

In the aftermath of the rescue, Giroux praised his colleagues on the roof who kept him secure and said he was well-prepared because of his training.

With 10 years on the job as a firefighter, according to his mother, her son previously worked as a physiologist in New York City. When asked whether she expected her son’s heroic actions, Anne said, “It’s not a surprise.”

Yonkers Fire Commissioner Anthony Pagano said there were no serious injuries relating to the incident and noted that the men had been secure enough to give the department time to plan a rescue. Previous efforts to reach the stranded men with a ladder from a fire truck on the scene were unsuccessful because it was about 10 feet too short, which prompted Giroux’s maneuver.

Pagano praised Giroux, but added, “It was a team effort, and we will honor them all.”

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