Manuel J. Trombley saved Janice Pharmakis from burning, North Providence, Rhode Island, March 7, 1998. Ms. Pharmakis, 64, was in a bedroom of her one-story house after fire broke out in the living room. A neighbor, Trombley, 47, laboratory manager, was alerted to the fire and immediately responded to the scene. He entered the smoke-filled house through a side door, which opened into the kitchen, and called to Ms. Pharmakis, thereby learning her location. Despite flames spreading to the ceilings of the kitchen and hall, Trombley crawled through the kitchen and down the hall to Ms. Pharmakis’s bedroom. He found Ms. Pharmakis at the window, attempting to open a storm window. Trombley opened the storm window, then grasped Ms. Pharmakis and lowered her through the window to the ground. Trombley then exited the house through the window. Ms. Pharmakis and Trombley both required hospital treatment for smoke inhalation, Trombley being detained overnight. They recovered.
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Manuel Joseph “Bud” Trombley, 64, died on Oct. 20, 2014. Born on July 2, 1950, in Providence, R.I., he was a son of the late Manuel and Mary (Vinacco) Trombley.
Trombley received a degree in electronical engineering technology and business from New England Institute of Technology. He had extensive experience in electronics and chemistry, working in the semiconductor air quality industry. Trombley traveled extensively, servicing major manufacturers of semiconductor devices throughout the U.S. and Asia. He also was a laboratory manager and frequently maintained the air quality systems for the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C.
In February 1999, the Hero Fund awarded Trombley the Carnegie Medal for saving a neighbor, Janice Pharmakis, from her burning house in North Providence on March 7, 1998.
“He was crawling on his hands and knees,” Pharmakis told a reporter for the Providence Sunday Journal afterward. “I had the window open and he said, ‘You’re going out.’ He lowered me by my feet, and I fell maybe 10 inches to the ground. When I came over to where he was lying down outside, he kept saying, ‘Jan, Jan, are you okay,’ but he was the one coughing. He was the hero.”
The newspaper also reported that the town’s mayor and firefighters and the Rhode Island General Assembly publicly recognized Trombley for his actions.
“Being a firefighter, I know what it took to go in there,” Fire Chief Bernard Charello said during a ceremony. “Someone is sitting in a chair who wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t jumped back in.”
(Edited from an obituary published on the website for the Pontarelli-Marino Funeral Home in Providence.)