Rhode Islanders recognized as heroes at State House

Bruce Quinn, pictured with Ralph Mollis (left) and Gov. Lincoln Chafee is honored at the Rhode Island State House for his efforts after eight acrobats fell at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.

A group of 15 Rhode Islanders were recognized at the State House on Thursday for saving lives.

All of them received the lifesaving medal from Gov. Lincoln Chafee and Secretary of State Ralph Mollis.

Bruce Quinn was honored for what he did after the circus accident at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in May. Eight acrobats, hanging by their hair, fell more than 25 feet to the ground.

"That event, it was horrific. And it was a complete team effort," he said.

"Quinn, an assistant explosives and flammable liquids technician ran to the performers, who were lying in a pile on the ground with bloody faces," Mollis said.

Quinn was keeping an eye on pyrotechnics when the performers fell. He jumped over a barrier and ran to help them.

"Everybody acted in unison. We hadn't worked together before, really, but when you're in the business and you've had training, you have that practice if you will, you just go into auto," Quinn said.

Quinn accepted the award but made sure to list the names of many others who helped after the accident and said he was grateful no one was killed.

"And I felt uncomfortable receiving, being singled out. I was grateful, but this is for everybody that was there. This is not for me," he said.

Other good deeds ranged from saving people from fires and helping someone who was having a heart attack.

"Today we witness firsthand the inspirational examples of how people can make a dramatic difference," Mollis said.