First Responders Children’s Foundation, the national non-profit organization that provides financial relief to the families of first responders who have been injured or killed in the line of duty,today announced that Sergeant Robert Zoubek of Park Falls, Wisconson, will be the recipient of its 2021 Law Enforcement Hero Award at A Celebration of First Responder Heroes, the Foundation’s 20th Anniversary Awards Gala and Concert, in tribute to National First Responders Day. Honorees have performed selfless acts of bravery every day in their commitment to public service and community safety. A Celebration of First Responder Heroes will be held on Wednesday, October 27th (National First Responders Day Eve) at City Winery, 25 11th Avenue at Hudson River Park.
Sergeant Robert Zoubek responded to a fire and saved three lives despite having no personal protection gear to wear. The lives were saved before firefighters arrived, and during the rescues, he battled smoke inhalation but refused to leave the scene until all people made it safely out of the building.
At 12:08 a.m. on May 31, 2021, Sergeant Robert Zoubek was dispatched to a structure fire of an apartment building located in the city of Park Falls. Sgt. Zoubek was aware this building contained 4 apartments on the second floor and that each were currently occupied. As Sgt. Zoubek was responding to the scene, he was about one-half mile from the building when he could already see an orange glow in the sky over the top of the building. Upon arrival and without hesitation, Sgt. Zoubek entered the burning building and ascended the stairway to get to the apartments. It was found the fire had started on the 2nd floor. Sgt. Zoubek encountered heavy smoke on the 2nd floor. Sgt Zoubek woke two occupants in one apartment and advised them of the fire that was now only 30′ from their door. Overcome by smoke inhalation, Sgt. Zoubek ran back downstairs. He was choking, coughing and vomiting. He then ran back upstairs and made contact with another tenant whose apartment was even closer to the fire. This tenant was elderly and he had no idea his building was on fire. Sgt. Zoubek assisted this man out of the building.
In the end, Sgt. Zoubek was instrumental in removing all three occupants who were inside of the building at the time of the fire. It is very likely that all three people would have died had it not been for the quick, selfless and courageous actions of Sgt. Zoubek who was the first on the scene and the first one to run inside the building. One apartment was so engulfed in fire that it was impossible to enter that dwelling. The tenant who resided in that apartment was unaccounted for. That tenants’ car was also parked outside giving the appearance the tenant may still be in the building. Although sick from smoke inhalation, Sgt. Zoubek remained on scene and made numerous phone calls in an attempt to locate the missing tenant. Sgt. Zoubek made contact with the tenant by telephone and found she was safely with family out of the area. It was then realized that all people had safely made it out of the building. Only then did Sgt. Zoubek go to the hospital for treatment.