Residents honoured for bravery

Emily Bird and Derrick Boyer at Dylan Bennett's bedside. Photo courtesy Tasha Bennett

Three people involved in two acts of bravery in Prince Albert were among the 24 people who were honoured in Regina Monday.

The citizens were honoured with Royal Canadian Humane Association bravery awards, presented by Lieut. Gov. W. Thomas Molloy. The awards recognize deeds of heroism by Canadians who save or attempt to save a life, especially if their actions lie outside the ordinary duties of a person involved.

Recipients Monday included a SaskPower technician, a Regina police officer, eight Saskatoon police officers, a couple who fought off a bear in Meadow Lake and a 14-year-old boy who saved his soccer coach and the coach’s son.

Both Prince Albert incidents involved people intervening in a house fire.

Emily Bird and Derrick Boyer were out for a walk at about 5 a.m. on July 31, 2017, when they heard a commotion coming from a house, and saw a man running away. The pair approached the house, hearing the fire alarm and saw flames through a living room window. Derrick banged on the door and shouted loudly for the occupants to get out. He entered and found a 20-year-old man lying on the floor, covered in blood. He was lying beside two couches that were on fire, with flames spreading to the wood panelling. The victim was unconscious, so Derrick and Emily dragged him from the house and called 911. The victim had been stabbed multiple times, and was taken to the hospital, where he would eventually recover.

“it was intense,” Boyer said at the time of the incident.

“I was yelling at the top of my lungs too, because it was the morning and I thought other people would be sleeping. I just wanted to get everyone out of the house.”

Dylan Bennett, the victim, said the incident served as a “wake-up call.

“He encouraged me on m path of not drinking,” Bennett said of Boyer.

“(We) talked about how God has a plan for me.”

For their efforts, Bird and Boyer were awarded the Bronze Medal for Bravery.

The next day, SaskPower technician Douglas Risling found himself in a somewhat similar situation.

Risling, who was only identified to the Herald at the time as ‘Doug the technician,” had finished some electrical repairs at an apartment complex when he noticed smoke pouring out of one of the suites.

He ran back inside and banged on the doors to alert residents of the danger. He managed to evacuate all 12 residents safely away from the building, and then disconnect the power before firefighters arrived. While the fire was contained by firefighters to one of the units, there was smoke damage throughout the hallways, and several residents, along with Risling, were treated for minor smoke inhalation.

Risling was awarded an honorary testimonial certificate.

A pair of fire rescues from the areas surrounding Prince Albert also earned local heroes awards Monday.

Just after midnight on May 29, 2018, Abegail Epino and Megan Stonehouse were driving towards downtown Nipawin when they saw an orange glow in the sky.

They realized a small house was fully engulfed in flames. Epino and Stonehouse called 911 and were joined by Cory Folster. While the building that was burning was abandoned, a group home occupied by special-needs adults was located next door. The trio alerted the residents of the danger, as the fire spread to the west wall of the home. Once they alerted staff to the danger, they assisted them in waking up and evacuating the five residents.

The fire blew out the windows and burned the outside of the west wall, where the residents’ bedrooms were located.

For their bravery, Epino, Folster and Stonehouse were awarded an honorary testimonial certificate.

Brian Gould also saved someone from a fire. Gould was driving to Saskatoon for an early morning flight on Feb. 5, 2018, at 3 a.m. Half an hour into his commute, he noticed a car stuck in the snow off Highway 11, just north of Duck Lake. He pulled over, noticing the driver still inside, with the car in gear and tires spinning.

Gould called 911. While on the phone, he noticed fire and smoke under the hood of the car. He informed the operator he was going to help the man, and banged on the driver’s side window. The car was full of smoke, and the driver unresponsive.

Gould ran back to his vehicle, grabbed a shovel and used it to break the rear passenger-side window to avoid injuring the driver, but still couldn’t unlock the door. He then smashed the driver’s window, as smoke and flames were increasing. He was able to grab the victim, who was not wearing a seatbelt.

As Gould pulled the man through the window, the front left tire of the vehicle exploded, reviving the victim. Gould brought the man to his own truck to keep warm while they waited for the RCMP to arrive. While they waited, the man’s car was completely engulfed in flames.

Monday, Gould was honoured with the Bronze Medal for Bravery.