Three Hanover Township residents, Andy Mottram, Kevin Bauer and Frank DeMaio, were honored last night by the Morris County Board of Freeholders for the life-saving rescues of the husband and wife owners of an iconic Whippany restaurant and tavern that went up in flames in late 2017. The three heroes saw the flames and smoke pouring out of Billy & Madeline’s Red Room Tavern during the early afternoon of Nov. 27, 2017, stopped their cars and ran to the scene.
Andy Mottram and Kevin Bauer worked as a team to bring Madeline Fornaro from a smoke-filled second floor bedroom to safety.
Frank DeMaio, a former Hanover firefighter, broke through the main door of the tavern and was able to locate Billy Fornaro and bring him out safely.
All three men declined to be called heroes: “We did what probably anyone would have done,’’ said Bauer.
But in presenting county resolutions of thanks to each of the men at a ceremony in Morristown, Freeholder Director Doug Cabana said the following: “A hero is defined as a person who, in the face of danger, combats adversity through ingenuity, bravery or strength, sacrificing his own personal concerns or safety for a greater good or to help others who are in need.”
“The actions of Frank DeMaio, Kevin Bauman and Andy Mottram, on Nov. 27, 2017, certainly fit that definition. The residents of Hanover Township and Morris County thank them for their actions.”
“On behalf of the Board of Chosen Freeholders and Sheriff Jim Gannon, we issue these county resolutions to you for your swift and courageous actions without regard to your own personal safety, and thank you for being role models for all residents of our county.’’
Joining the freeholders in honoring the trio were Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, Whippany Fire Department Chief Joe Cortright, Hanover Mayor Ron Francioli, and Hanover Committeeman Thomas “Ace” Gallagher.
Cortright lauded Mottram, Bauer and DeMaio for their good Samaritan efforts, saying their quick and responsive action — several minutes before firefighters arrived -– saved the lives of tavern owners Billy and Madeline, who are both near or over age 80.
While driving on the afternoon of Nov. 27, 2017, Mottram and Bauer (together in one vehicle) and DeMaio (in a second vehicle) observed the fire at Billy & Madeline’s. All three ran to the fiery and smoky building to see if they could help.
Bauer, raised on his shoulders by the much taller Mottram, was able to climb onto the roof and help Madeline Fornaro out of a second story window. DeMaio, meanwhile, broke the glass on the tavern door to get into the burning building and located Billy Fornaro.