Richard J. Gallagher helped to save Daniel R. Adams and five others from burning, Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, July 12, 2005. Adams, 43, four family members, and a friend were crossing Nantucket Sound in Adams’s 48-foot motor yacht when fire broke out below deck and grew. Dropping anchor, Adams called the Coast Guard and gathered his passengers to the bow of the vessel. Gallagher, 54, fire commissioner, and a friend were approaching the scene in the friend’s 24-foot sport boat, which Gallagher was then operating. They spotted smoke, then saw that the yacht was issuing 10-foot flames from stern to midship. Responding to the yacht, Gallagher positioned the sport boat alongside it, but wind and four-foot seas made it difficult for him to maintain the position. Likewise, the rocking boats caused variance in the distance between the levels of their decks. While Gallagher remained at the wheel, his friend stood on the bow of the sport boat to help in the transfer of the victims. The first to board was Adams’s young daughter, who was tossed to the friend by her mother. The mother followed, by jumping to the smaller craft, and three of the remaining victims followed her in similar fashion. Before Adams could leave the yacht, flames had spread to the extent that Gallagher feared an explosion. He distanced the sport boat from the yacht, his friend yelling to Adams to jump overboard. Adams did so, then grasped the end of a line that the friend had thrown toward him, and he was pulled aboard the smaller craft. Within a short time, the yacht was engulfed by flames, and it sank later that day. Rescue boats arrived, and Adams and his party were escorted to shore, where they were tended by medical technicians. Adams’s daughter had a minor burn on an ankle, but none of the others was injured.
78856 – 902678856-9026