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Security guards honored for saving several from Homewood blaze



HOMEWOOD, Pa. - Two heroes were honored Friday for their brace actions that saved lives back in January.

Channel 11’s Jennifer Tomazic was there as two security guards were honored by the state for their help in saving a family from a fire.

“For putting aside their own safety in the face of danger for the good of others,” State Rep. Ed Gainey said.

The fire broke out Jan. 31 in a row house on Stranahan Street in Homewood. Agents Michael Gressem and Portia Harmon were patrolling the area when they learned of the blaze.

They both ran in and pulled a little girl out to safety.

“As we were exiting the building, we were told there were more people inside the building. Once we were inside, there were two more females,” Gressem said.

Gressem said they helped those women get out, and then they notified the fire department that there were oxygen tanks inside.

“I didn’t expect anything to happen like that. It’s our job to look after people and protect people. That’s what we were doing, doing our job,” Harmon said.

Their boss at SSIS said all of his employees are well-trained for situations like this.

“I’m very proud of my employees. I am very proud of the people I hire. People that work for us go beyond the call of duty,” Gressem and Harmon’s boss said.

Officials said the blaze was intentionally set, but the case remains under investigation.