DANVERS — Some might say hockey player Martin Moioffer has ice water in his veins. 

Moioffer, 18, was honored Wednesday by the Fire Department and the state fire marshal's office with the Young Hero award, for saving the lives of his host guardian Robin Kellow and her dog during a house fire last month on Hobart Street.

"It takes a special individual to perform the kind of act that you performed without any training, without any special equipment," fire Chief Robert Pyburn said during the brief ceremony at Fire Headquarters on High Street. "It was truly a heroic act, and we appreciate what you did, and I'm sure Robin appreciates it more than anybody else in the room."

 

"I've thanked him over and over and over," said Kellow, standing at the back of the ceremony.

The Young Hero award recognizes a child, family or group of children who respond appropriately in an emergency by demonstrating key fire and life safety behaviors. It's offered through the state Student Awareness of Fire Education, or SAFE, program, which is run by the Fire Safety Division of the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services. 

Moioffer is the 371st young person since 1995 to receive the honor. On Wednesday, he was awarded a certificate for his bravery and a Young Hero T-shirt.

The soft spoken Moioffer said he was grateful for the honor. When the fire broke out, the Wisconsin native was staying with Kellow at her home at 175 Hobart St. so he could play for the East Coast Elite League's East Coast Spartans hockey team. 

 

"Like I said, I never thought what I did was anything heroic," Moioffer said after the ceremony. "I appreciate everybody taking their time out of their day and taking time out of their schedule to do something like this for me, and it shows they really care, and I really appreciate that a lot."

Cynthia "Cindy" Ouellette, the fire data and public education coordinator for the state Department of Fire Services, recounted Moioffer's actions on June 18. 

At 8:23 p.m., Moioffer was playing video games on the second floor when he smelled something burning.

He went downstairs and found the couch on fire.

"After making a brief attempt to extinguish the fire," Ouellette said, "Martin immediately returned to the second floor to alert Robin. Ms. Kellow was in the shower at the time and she could hear Martin yelling that the house was on fire and telling her she needed to get out. After she got out of the shower and opened the door to the hallway she was met with thick, black smoke.

"She ran into the railing and became disoriented," Ouellette continued. "She yelled to Martin that she could not see. Martin came back up the stairs and led her to safety." Moioffer also had the presence of mind to turn on the light on his cellphone so Kellow could find him through the smoke.

Outside the burning home, Kellow realized Sparky, her Jack Russell terrier, was missing. Moioffer ran back inside the burning home, found the dog in the upstairs room where he had been playing video games, and brought it out.

Kellow credited Moioffer with saving her life, Ouellette said, and both Pyburn and fire Capt. James Brooks credited Martin for his quick actions.

"So that is an amazing accomplishment for any one person," Ouellette said.

State Rep. Ted Speliotis, D-Danvers, said not everyone could do what Martin did. He recalled being at Fenway Park when someone suffered a heart attack a couple of rows in front of him. Speliotis had been trained in CPR, but he said he "wasn't much help that day."

"I know from personal experience, it takes a special person to be able to do that and I give you a lot of credit," said Speliotis, presenting Moioffer with citations from the state House of Representatives and the state Senate.

Trey Stober, a hockey player from Florida living with Kellow, called what his friend and teammate did "absolutely amazing."

"He's like, even on the ice, like you can tell, he has a lot of poise and really, really, really calm," said Stober, and 18-year-old from Florida who was at work at the time of the fire. "So, I'm not really surprised that he has done something like this and he didn't panic, cause, in almost a lot of situations, he has that characteristic about him."

"He doesn't overreact," Kellow said. "That was me." 

Along with Moioffer and Stober, two other Spartans teammates were living with Kellow when the fire broke out. 

Kellow's home was so badly damaged she is now living in a trailer beside her home. To help her childhood friend rebuild, Danvers resident Carla King, who was at Wednesday's ceremony, has started a GoFundMe page and opened an account called the Kellow Fire Fund at Salem Five Bank.

 

Martin plans to stick around Danvers this summer and train for the upcoming hockey season. He has signed to play for the Twin City Thunder hockey team in Maine. 

 

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @TannerSalemNews. 

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