A Gloucester woman who sacrificed her own life in an attempt to save her grandchildren from a 2013 house fire on Summerville Road was posthumously awarded the Carnegie Medal for heroism.
Virginia Grogan was one of 22 individuals named as medal recipients in an announcement made on March 26 by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission. The medal is given throughout the United States and Canada to those who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others.
Grogan and four other 2014 recipients of the Carnegie Medal lost their lives in the performance of their lifesaving acts.
The early-morning fire on Jan. 16, 2013 claimed the life of Grogan, as well as the lives of her three grandsons—Gabriel, 6 months; Michael, 2; and Thomas, 7.
According to a release from the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, Grogan, 54, pulled the boys’ mother from the house from a second-story bedroom window, and then went back for the boys.
“As Grogan’s husband aided the mother to ground level, Grogan entered the bedroom for the boys. Realizing that she had re-entered the house, her husband called to her and the boys but received no response,” the Carnegie Award narrative stated. “Flames grew to engulf and destroy the structure. Firefighters later located the boys in the bedroom and Grogan in the living room, all having succumbed to smoke inhalation.”