NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Nearly four dozen firefighters, FDNY medical workers and officers were honored with medals from the department Wednesday.
As WCBS 880's Rich Lamb reported, the FDNY bestowed its highest award on Lt. Robert E. Lee, who defied high heat, roiling flames, thick smoke and zero visibility to enter a fully engulfed Bronx apartment.
"Debris falling, the situation deteriorating -- this is truly when an individual is tested," Mayor Bill de Blasio described during the presentation ceremony at the 69th Regiment Armory in Manhattan.
Nearly 4 Dozen Receive FDNY Medals
De Blasio said Lee personally rescued two people and re-entered the inferno twice more, leading to a third person being pulled from the flames.
Outgoing FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano told the medal recipients, "Thank you for upholding the greatest traditions of this department -- selflessness, service, honor, sacrifice, bravery.
"We never know how many lives we've saved or how many lives we've touched," Cassano said. "But make no mistake about it: Nobody does it better than us."
Three fire companies and the Manhattan Serial Arson Task Force of the Bureau of Fire Investigation also received awards.
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