Coura­geous Fire Res­cue

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Water­ville

Around11 pm Satur­day, June 2nd , Daryl Williams and his wife Lisa O`Ha­gan were trav­el­ing to Len­noxville to pick up their daugh­ter when the cou­ple came across a burn­ing build­ing, known lo­cally as the Old Bre­tagne bar on Route 143 near Water­ville. On ap­proach they saw a col­umn of smoke and fully ex­pected the Water­ville fire depart­ment to be on scene. This was not the case as they were the first to no­tice the two story struc­ture fire. There were no ve­hi­cles in the yard.

With­out hes­i­ta­tion Daryl asked Lisa to call 911and re­quest the Water­ville fire depart­ment and an am­bu­lance and that he was go­ing to “have a look”. Heavy smoke was vis­i­ble in the first floor win­dows which were break­ing from the in­tense heat. As the win­dows broke flames ig­nited the hot smoke leav­ing the win­dows. When Mr. Williams opened the front door the smoke was down to two feet from the floor and flames were ex­it­ing the door­way at the top. He yelled into the room to see if he could get a re­sponse from po­ten­tial vic­tims. The smoke con­di­tions im­proved by opening the door but the fire was now well ven­ti­lated. Given the fact that he is a Cap­tain with the North Hat­ley-Hat­ley Town­ship Fire Depart­ment for the last 15 plus years he un­der­stood very well that it was a mat­ter of time be­fore the en­tire build­ing would be en­gulfed in flames. Putting his own per­sonal safety aside, he took sev­eral deep breaths and en­tered the room on his hands and knees, search­ing for po­ten­tial vic­tims. He found none and could not find a stairway to the sec­ond floor. He ex­ited and be­gan search­ing for a lad­der. Once at the rear of the build­ing he found there was a bal­cony at the back of the first floor and an ex­te­rior stair­case to the sec­ond floor apart­ment. He went to the first bal­cony pa­tio door but found it locked. He then found an ex­er­cise bi­cy­cle and threw it through the glass, break­ing it. He en­tered and searched the room. He then pro­ceeded to the sec­ond floor apart­ment and looked through the win­dows and found heavy smoke there as well. Mr. Williams started pound­ing on the door. The door and frame com­pletely fell out of the wall. He then en­tered a third time on his hands and knees’ know­ing full well the floor be­low him was burn­ing at a rapid rate. The heavy black smoke was down to 2 feet from the floor. He en­tered ap­prox­i­mately 12 feet and found a man in his twen­ties asleep on the couch. He pounded on his chest to wake him, telling him “We gotta go, now!” The vic­tim awoke, and agreed. Even though they could not see each other through the smoke at arms length he put his trust in the fire­fighter and the two ex­ited to safety. All of this took less than a cou­ple of min­utes.

Within less than five min­utes Water­ville fire depart­ment ar­rived on scene to a to­tally en­gulfed struc­ture. They then re­quested sup­port through the mu­tual aid sys­tem from both Comp­ton and North Hat­ley-Can­ton Hat­ley Fire De­part­ments, the lat­ter which Cap­tain Williams serves. Over the next 5-6 hours the struc­ture was re­duced to de­bris, but most im­por­tantly the life of a young man was saved with­out a doubt.

Once in the park­ing lot Cap­tain Williams, who is an ele­men­tary school teacher, rec­og­nized the res­cued man as one of his former stu­dents. Re­mark­ably he was fine, but Cap­tain Williams re­luc­tantly spent the night in hos­pi­tal be­ing treated and ob­served for smoke in­hala­tion symp­toms. He left the next morn­ing in good health.

Cap­tain Williams is a very, very hum­ble man, his only comment when asked about all this was that “this could have been com­pletely avoided had there been work­ing smoke de­tec­tors in the build­ing” and “with­out my fire­fighter train­ing I would not have been able to do it, in fact I would be dead!”.

As a fire chief I would have pre­ferred that he had waited for the fire depart­ment to ar­rive and do this work in a much safe man­ner, rather than risk his life, but I am con­vinced the res­cued man would have not have sur­vived. I am very proud of the ac­tion taken by him. Cap­tain Williams is a great fire­fighter. Our com­mu­ni­ties are well served by him and the many other fire­fight­ers in each of our towns. Hats off to you Daryl and to all those who chose to serve! Please check your smoke de­tec­tors monthly and change

the bat­ter­ies twice a year. Mike McKenna

Fire Chief North Hat­ley-Can­ton Hat­ley Ayer`s Cliff Fire Depart­ment

Atthe re­cent Ro­tary District Con­fer­ence, Jan Draper of the Boundary Ro­tary Club in Stanstead was awarded the Ci­ta­tion of Mer­i­to­ri­ous Ser­vice which rec­og­nizes in­di­vid­ual Ro­tar­i­ans who have demon­strat- ed out­stand­ing ac­tive ser­vice to the Ro­tary Foun­da­tion. Jan Draper epit­o­mizes the hu­man­i­tar­ian spirit of Ro­tary. The fo­cus of much of her hu­man­i­tar­ian work has been in Guyana. Not only does she iden­tify hu­man­i­tar­ian needs in Guyana, she makes fre­quent trips to Guyana to work on projects.

Jan was in­stru­men­tal in ob­tain­ing a Ro­tary Foun­da­tion Match­ing Grant. The project pro­vided a health pro­gram de­signed to con­trol malaria. She ar­ranges for the dis­tri­bu­tion of treated nets. The project was suc­cess­fully com­pleted April 2007 thanks in large part to Jan’s

What’s left of the build­ing in Water­ville where fire­fighter Daryl Williams res­cued a sleep­ing man.

Jan Draper in Para­maka­toi, an iso­lated Amerindian vil­lage in Guyana’s rain­for­est. She is with some of the trainees who are par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Com­mu­nity Health Worskshop part of a project spon­sored by the Ro­tary Club of the Boundary.

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