Virginia Beach first responders recognized with Valor Award for saving sleeping residents during apartment fire

Thousands of men and women in uniform put their lives on the line every day when they go to work here in Hampton Roads.  Monday we continue a series dedicated to the first responders who went above and beyond the call of duty this year.

The Valor Awards are presented by the Hampton Roads Chamber.  News 3 is honored to partner again this year and showcase incredible feats of bravery.

Click here for complete coverage of the 2018 Valor Awards

Monday's story shows the amazing valor of seven Virginia Beach First Responders who worked together to save residents who were sound asleep when fire ripped through an apartment complex just after dawn on December 31.

“What really directed my attention was some females that were on the balcony screaming and it was excruciating," Officer John Hlebinsky said.

Officer John Hlebinsky was there that night as well and explained what he saw, "So I’m running to the balcony and I can see them the flames was starting to  grow more intense I knew that we couldn’t get up any higher we were really taking in black smoke and I said just wait a minute I’m holding onto them so they know that I’m there fire pulls up.”

Master Firefighter Shawn Sass' role was to grab the extension latter and throw that to the balcony to rescue the two people.

Once they knew the people were safely down they knocked on doors tell people to evacuate.

“If I had to do it again I would do it again every day of the week and twice on Sundays I would," Police Officer John Hlebinsky said.

News 3 will bring you other stories of incredibly brave men and women working as first responders in Hampton Roads in the coming weeks.

The Hampton Roads Chamber Valor Awards are June 7, 2018 at the Renaissance Portsmouth-Norfolk Waterfront Hotel.  Click here for more information.