NORTH KINGSTOWN - Every year the North Kingstown Rotary Club, honors a North Kingstown police officer and firefighter of the year. This year’s honorees included an two-time winner of the award and a group of 10 firefighters who assisted in a confined-space rescue of two men.
Detective Sergeant Jeffrey St. Onge previously received the police officer of the year award in 1999 after responding to a stand-off on Bea Drive in town and in 2007 when he was working on internet fraud and embezzlement cases where he was able to uncover over $100,000 of fraud within the town.
This time around, St. Onge is being recognized for his work as senior detective on the Kimberly Fry case. In August 2009, he was one of the officers who responded to the Ricci Lane residence for the report of a deceased child. The investigation and 2011 trial successfully proved that former resident Kimberly Fry had murdered her daughter. She was found guilty of second-degree murder and is scheduled to be sentenced next month.
“This case isn’t over yet and Sergeant Detective St. Onge has put in an exorbitant amount of time,” North Kingstown Police Chief Thomas Mulligan said. “He’s sacrificed his personal time and is still committed to seeing the end of this case.”
St. Onge is still with the detective division and works in the prosecution unit.
“It’s nice to be appreciated,” added St. Onge. “Though I don’t know what the final outcome will be as it relates to sentencing, I do know that we found justice for Camden.”
Also honored were 10 firefighters for their involvement in a confined-space rescue of two Senesco Marine employees last May.
On May 25 at 9:38 p.m., firefighters responded to Senesco for two victims inside the hold of a tug boat, with one of them unconscious as the result of improper breathing equipment.
Capt. John Linacre and Lt. Matthew Kennett first entered into the hull of the tug, 15 feet below the surface, through a 30 inch oval hatch. They then proceeded forward through another 30-inch opening and into a five-by-five foot chamber with a three-foot wall. Unable to reach the victim, the two advanced through another 30-inch opening to a four-by-four foot chamber with a three-foot wall only to be faced with having to proceed even further through the fourth 30-inch opening where they finally reached the employees. The unconscious employee was combative due to hypoxia.
“Through persistence and perseverance the captain and lieutenant managed to manipulate the semi-conscious patient back to the last compartment in the hold of the boat,” Fire Chief Fenwick Gardiner said. “By then, Capt. Linacre had to leave and return to the surface due to low air supply and was replaced with Lt. Jeffrey Field.”
Both lieutenants reached the stern of the boat at the exit hatch where additional help was waiting. Lt. Ehren Smith, Lt. Tim Curry, Pvt. Jon King, Pvt. John Paliotta, Pvt. Robert Olivier and Pvt. Chris Beattie hoisted the victims to the safety.
Both employees are doing well and have fully recovered.
“I thank all firefighters and police for their core values and their selfless service,” added Gardiner.