Off Duty Fire­fighter res­cues man from burn­ing build­ing

Stanstead Journal - - FROM PAGE ONE - Spe­cial col­lab­o­ra­tion Mike McKenna Fire Chief North Hat­ley-Can­ton Hat­ley Ayer's Cliff Fire Depart­ment

Around 11 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, the 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

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