Cape & Islands Congressman Bill Keating paid the Nantucket Fire Department a visit early Tuesday morning just after 9:30 a.m. to honor them with certificates of special congressional recognition for their actions during the Veranda House Fire on July 9.
Fire Captain Nate Barber received a personal plaque for his heroic efforts that day after running into the burning hotel to clear the building, turning back due to smoke, and then proceeding to climb onto a roof and enter through a window after a man approached him and said his son was stuck in room 224. The boy had made it out, but Barber still ended up saving two people by guiding them to a nearby window where a ladder was propped up. You can read more about it here.
Keating's visit lasted for approximately 45 minutes. At one point during the visit, he told the department that he spoke with President Joe Biden about the fire and that Biden had "already read all about it."
"I'm sure when the President is here for Thanksgiving he will want to stop by and say a few words," Keating said.
Keating went on to ask Barber to elaborate on his heroic actions that day and commended the department for their bravery. He said he continues to advocate for grants that support the department and suggested several times he would like to see them add a second ladder truck to their arsenal.
Keating also asked Fire Chief Steve Murphy and Deputy Fire Chief Sean Mitchell about the protocol to get help from other departments on the Cape. After hearing it takes two hours minimum to get assistance, Keating expressed an interest in trying to come up with solutions that could get the NFD help sooner in one of these serious situations, such as flying firefighters over rather than having them take the boat.