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Top Albany firefighter recognized

Frank Flanigan, right, accepts the firefighter of the year award from Deputy Chief Ron Rowe at Tuesday’s city commission meeting.

Frank Flanigan, right, accepts the firefighter of the year award from Deputy Chief Ron Rowe at Tuesday’s city commission meeting.

ALBANY, Ga. — A man whose quick thinking and calm demeanor likely saved the arm of a local man, was honored by the Albany City Commission as the 2011 firefighter of the year.

Frank Flanigan, a former Albany Herald photographer who swapped his camera gear in favor of a hose and ladder, accepted the award Tuesday night from Deputy Fire Chief Ron Rowe before receiving a standing ovation from the City Commission.

Chief James Carswell called Flanigan a dedicated firefighter who has taken advantage of training opportunities and who has never shied away from challenges.

“He’s really one of our employees who goes that extra mile,” Carswell said. “He’s always looking for opportunities for additional training and, on that August day, it paid off.”

The day in question is Aug. 1, when Flanigan’s unit responded to a report of an industrial accident in which a man had gotten his arm caught up to the armpit in an ice machine.

Flanigan, who had been trained on advanced extrication, or removal, techniques, was able to help the man remove his arm — which was broken every three inches and was wrapped around the gears of the machine — from the machine to the extent that the arm was able to be saved.

“Ultimately a very unusual, complex and life-threatening situation resulted in a quick extrication of the man’s arm. Because of his quick thinking and calm demeanor, and his display of outstanding knowledge, skills, and abilities on this incident which allowed the man’s arm to be saved, Frank Flanigan is our 2011 Firefighter of the Year,” Rowe said.