City officials have officially recognized the Shelton police officer who was credited with saving the lives of a Meadow Street couple whose house suffered extensive damage from an early morning fire in May.

Mayor Mark Lauretti, during the Board of Aldermen meeting Thursday, Sept. 12, presented Officer Michael Kichar with a certificate of recognition for his lifesaving efforts to a rousing applause from the aldermen and residents in attendance.

“(Kichar) has been serving our department for a number of years,” said Lauretti, “and he is someone who understands the value of life and understands the importance of helping people who need to be helped.”

“He definitely made a difference,” added Shelton Fire Chief Francis T. Jones III, who also presented Kichar with an honorary plaque for his efforts. “He saved a couple lives that day. His actions helped reduce the damage to the house and reduced the threat to our firefighters by early recognition and allowing us to do our job as well.”

Kichar was on his way in to work about 6:55 a.m. on Sunday, May 19, when he observed smoke coming from a residence at 184 Meadow Street, which is less than a mile from police headquarters. Kichar called 911 and then was able to wake and alert the residents of the home and help them and the family dog escape before firefighters arrived.

“(Kichar) deserves credit for saving their lives, or at least saving them from serious injury,” said Fire Marshal James Tortora at the time.

Kichar knocked numerous times before one of the homeowners came to the door. The homeowners told Kichar they were asleep and did not even know the house was on fire. Once all were rescued, the home was engulfed in flames within minutes.

Firefighters from neighboring Monroe and Trumbull were called in to help local firefighters extinguish the blaze that was brought under control at 8:23 a.m. Tortora said the fire started in the garage area, which had been converted into an apartment that was unoccupied and used for storage. He added that the fire spread quickly into the attic and caused extensive damage to the single-story home.

“(Kichar) had the presence of mind to stop, get into the house and get the people out, so they are alive today,” said Lauretti. “The house is not, but the people are.”

“We have always taken this opportunity to recognize people within our community who have the presence of mind and caring of heart to be able to extend themselves to other people,” said Lauretti. “In this situation, Mike Kichar is commendable and admirable for the actions he took to save these people.”

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com