Two friends heading out together for lunch. Laughing, joking, then stumbling upon a frightening situation that left them with a choice to make as to whether to get involved or drive on by.
The decision was easy and immediate for Andy Mottram and Kevin Bauman, who according to the Daily Record saw a woman trapped on the third floor of a burning building. It was one of the owners of Billy & Madeline’s Red Room Tavern, and she couldn’t seem to find a way down through the window.
Bauman caught the scene on video, including the moment when his 6’9″ friend, Mottram, told him to climb up his towering body in order to reach the frightened woman and help her down.
Bauman reached the woman and helped her get out of the window, on to the roof and then down to the waiting arms of Mottram.
The video ends there but the Daily Record reports that the Good Samaritanism was far from over in this story. Bauman was also able to save the family’s dog, and there is more.
In the video, the woman, Madeline, can be heard crying out for Billy, presumably someone she can’t find.
A third good Samaritan, Frank DeMaio, had come across the scene and saw Billy dazed and by a ground level door. The former firefighter wrapped him up in a coat and walked him to safety, according to the Daily Record.
The good news continued, with DeMaio reporting that not only was the truck he left running while aiding Billy still there when he returned, but the chili he’d picked up to eat was still hot. The three men, all hailed “as heroes,” reported the Daily Record, were honored “…at the freeholders’ meeting for the Nov. 27 rescues from the fire that destroyed the restaurant that opened in 1933.”
It is not known why Billy, 87, and Madeline, 65, did not attend the ceremony, but the couple did post a thank you message to the Facebook page of their restaurant, which is more simply known as Billy’s Red Room, after the rescue.
The message began with, “Words cannot express the gratitude we have for Kevin Bauman, Andy Mottram, Frank DeMaio, Whippany Fire Dept (and all the other fire departments who responded.), the First Responders, EMT’s, Police, and Detectives.”
They added their appreciation for their neighbors, “especially” the ones who helped care for their dog. They also wrote about how much they appreciated all the effort the fire department put into trying to save their business.
They ended with the quote, “Friends are like Angels, you don’t have to see them to know they are with you.” The message was then signed from them and their dog, as “Billy-Madeline & “Maybe” (Our wonderful and very spoiled Sheltie who alerted us the day of the fire and saved us from being trapped on the third floor.)”
Other posts on the page, though few in number, have also expressed their deep gratitude for the outpouring of love and support they have received from their community.
Members of the community have left messages on the page of support for the couple and their sadness at the loss of a favorite place to eat and hang out.
There was no word in the immediate weeks following the fire what the couple had planned next.
Given the support they have received thus far, if they decide to start Billy’s Red Room up again, they will likely have the backing of the community to help them see the plan come to fruition.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.