Red Cross Hero: Matt Schoonover - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Red Cross Hero: Matt Schoonover

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By Heather Sawaski

WHITING (WAOW) -- People do amazing things in our communities and those acts often go unnoticed. That's why area Red Cross chambers honor those people with their Real Hero awards.

Matt Schoonover, a Whiting Fire Fighter, is recognized as Portage County's Emergency Response Hero.

Matt Schoonover has been helping fire victims for nearly 30 years. So when the Assistant Chief of the Whiting Fire Department heard the call for a nearby house fire last November, he didn't waste anytime.

"The report said that people were still in the house," Schoonover recalled. "So I left my place of work at the Whiting Ranger Station and drove directly to the scene."

When he got there, Schoonover went down to the basement where the fire started. That's where he found the first victim.

"When I saw him on the stairs, and he was going back down into the basement, I could see beyond him that there was fire burning at the bottom of the stairs. So that's why I had him come out. And the smoke was starting to build pretty well."

But he quickly learned there was someone still trapped inside.

"So I went back inside," Schoonover explained. "I could not see the bottom of the stairs anymore because the smoke was extremely thick. And I could not see her. So I went down the steps, calling out for her at the same time, and all of a sudden we bumped into each other without even seeing each other."

Thanks to Matt Schoonover's quick action, the couple escaped with no serious injuries. He says it's all in a day's work.

"I'm there just to help the public out whenever they have problems," he said. 

But the Fire Chief Dan Kontos said Schoonover deserves to be recognized as a true hero.

"It's not something he would ever take credit for himself," he said. "So we wanted to make sure he got the recognition for the great job that he did that he really does deserve."

Assistant Chief Matt Schoonover will be recognized at the Portage, Wood, and Clark County Real Hero's banquet on March 23rd.

Online Reporter: Heather Sawaski

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