Liberty Mutual Insurance Celebrates Two Firefighters For Outstanding Heroism And Community Service With National Firemark Award

Extraordinary Bravery and Commitment to Public Education Earn $10,000 Grants for Local Fire Departments in New York and Massachusetts

May 20, 2013, 14:00 ET from Liberty Mutual Insurance

BOSTON, May 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Liberty Mutual Insurance, one of the nation's leading home and auto insurers, is today celebrating America's firefighters by announcing the recipients of its National Firemark Award. Lieutenant Michael Cosgrove of Selden, N.Y., is this year's honoree of the Liberty Mutual Firemark Award for Heroism and Fire Fighter Michael McLeieer of Merrimac, Mass., has earned the Liberty Mutual Firemark Award for Community Service and Public Education. Both Cosgrove and McLeieer have gone above and beyond their responsibilities to demonstrate their bravery and commitment to education. To reward these everyday heroes, Liberty Mutual will award both the Selden and Merrimac Fire Departments each with a $10,000 grant.

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A committee comprised of numerous fire safety organizations annually selects the Liberty Mutual National Firemark Award winners from among a pool of more than 150 firefighter nominees, each of whom had received a local Firemark Award from a Liberty Mutual Insurance office in their community throughout 2012. The selection committee includes representatives from such fire safety groups as the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Volunteer Fire Council, the National Fire Protection Association, the National Association of State Fire Marshals, the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, and the Center for Public Safety Excellence.

"We're excited to present this year's Liberty Mutual National Firemark Award to both Michael Cosgrove and Michael McLeieer because they both truly exemplify selfless commitments to keeping the public safe and educating people about the importance of fire safety," said James MacPhee, senior vice president and Chief Marketing Officer, Liberty Mutual Personal Insurance. "At Liberty Mutual Insurance, responsibility is ingrained in our culture, so we couldn't be more proud to see these two men personifying responsibility at the highest level in their communities."

Liberty Mutual National Firemark Award for Heroism
Lieutenant Michael Cosgrove, Selden Fire Department

It is difficult to say anyone else could be as deserving for this award as Michael Cosgrove. Two years ago, Cosgrove proved his heroic efforts when he put his life on the line to help save someone else. On July 3, 2011, Cosgrove, a 15-year veteran, received a page for a fire in a single family house, just eight doors down from his home. Naturally, his instinct kicked in and he immediately responded to the scene. He was able to successfully remove all the occupants from the first floor and after hearing reports of a trapped person on the second floor, Cosgrove extended a ladder outside the house and made his way to a second floor window.  From outside the building he tended to the unconscious occupant and held the individual near the window, suffering second and third degree burns in the process.

This March, Cosgrove experienced an unfortunate set of circumstances. When a call came in for a house fire in his hometown, he had no idea that he would be responding his own home. A man driving under the influence crashed his pickup truck into Cosgrove's house, severing a natural gas line and igniting the house into flames. Although Cosgrove was anticipating having to rescue his wife and two children from the burning house, upon arrival firefighters were met by his family who had safely escaped the fire.  Although Cosgrove and his unit were able to get to work extinguishing the flames, his house suffered severe damages.

Selden Fire Chief Joseph Leavens says that the funds will be allocated toward purchasing reflective post markers that will be installed on every public fire hydrant in the district. Members of the fire department will be installing them, so they will have the opportunity to interact with the community and educate residents on the need to keep the hydrants clear and accessible. These markers will help firefighters locate hydrants at night and during times of heavy snow. 

Cosgrove was thrilled to learn that he won The Liberty Mutual Firemark Award this year. "I'm very humbled by this honor and by the grant money from Liberty Mutual Insurance," said Cosgrove. "This money will help increase the safety of our community by ensuring that every hydrant in the district is marked and visible, especially helpful in times of heavy snow like we experienced last year."

Liberty Mutual National Firemark Award for Community Service
Michael McLeieer, Merrimac Fire Department

Since becoming a member of the Merrimac Fire Department in 2000, Michael McLeieer has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to public education in his community and nationally. More than two decades ago, he founded the non-profit charitable organization E.S.C.A.P.E. (Education Showing Children and Adults Procedures for Evacuations), whose mission is to teach children and adults about fire prevention, CPR and first aid.  In 2006, he was selected by the U.S. Fire Administration's National Fire Academy to train the nation's fire service on developing effective public education campaigns about fire safety. Students who participated in McLeieer's fire safety education program achieved a 98 percent success rate when tested on how to respond correctly to a fire. The importance of his course really rang true when a 4-year-old led his parents from their smoke-filled home the night after the child had participated in McLeieer's class.

McLeieer has played a role in education on a state and national level. He is currently the Training and Scheduling Coordinator for the Massachusetts's Firefighting Academy and is in charge of the Juvenile Fire Intervention program. Last year, the U.S. Fire Administration engaged McLeieer in a national public education webinar to share best practices for fire departments. He was one of 13 to present at the National Models on Fire Prevention symposium and was selected to present on "Models of Fire Prevention—Effective Community Risk Reduction" before 30,000 firefighters at the Fire Department Instructors Conference and at the National Fire Protection Association International Conference. He also has worked to build a youth education program in 47 communities called "No FIRES."

Merrimac Fire Chief Ralph W. Spencer could not be more proud of McLeieer's accomplishments. He says the Merrimac Fire Department will allocate the funds toward enhancing public education, youth fire intervention and fire fighter safety initiatives. McLeieer is happy to hear he is being recognized for his actions. "A big thanks to my fellow firefighters and to Liberty Mutual Insurance for this award," said McLeieer. "I hope my story will inspire others to focus on the importance of fire safety education. I look forward to seeing how Merrimac will use the grant money to further my education initiatives."

About the Liberty Mutual Firemark Award
The Liberty Mutual Firemark Award is presented annually to U.S. firefighters who best represent their communities through courageous valor and who best demonstrate the firefighter's selfless spirit.  The award takes its name from the firemark, a leaden plate in the form of a Phoenix rising from the ashes, which American fire offices in the 18th and 19th centuries used to mark all the houses they insured.  The firemark stood as a guarantee to all fire brigades that the insurance company that insured the house in question would reward them for extinguishing a fire on the premises.

Firefighters Cosgrove and McLeieer, as well as other past Liberty Mutual National Firemark Award winners, are celebrated on, an educational website created by Liberty Mutual Insurance for parents, children, educators, and firefighters, featuring engaging videos, lesson plans for teachers, and interactive games on fire safety and prevention. The website also is the destination for fire departments and the public to nominate firefighters in their community for a Liberty Mutual Firemark Award to reward outstanding feats of heroism or community service and public fire education.

About Liberty Mutual Insurance
"Helping people live safer, more secure lives" since 1912, Boston-based Liberty Mutual Insurance is a diversified global insurer and the third largest property and casualty insurer in the U.S. based on 2012 direct premiums written as reported by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.  Liberty Mutual Insurance also ranks 81st on the Fortune 100 list of largest U.S. corporations, based on 2012 revenue.  The company employs over 50,000 people in more than 900 offices throughout the world.

The sixth-largest auto and home insurer in the U.S., Liberty Mutual ( sells full lines of coverage for automobile, homeowners, valuable possessions, personal liability, and individual life insurance.  The company is an industry leader in affinity partnerships, offering car and home insurance to employees and members of more than 14,000 companies, credit unions, professional associations and alumni groups.

Press Contact:
Glenn Greenberg
Liberty Mutual Insurance

Caitlin Tridle

SOURCE Liberty Mutual Insurance