Constable earns exemplary service award
It’s the kind of thing people see on television all the time.
A fire breaks out at a home and someone — a firefighter, paramedic or police officer — rushes in to save a life.
Unlike most people, Brantford police Const. Jeremy Morton has rushed into a burning building. In fact, he did it four times last Jan. 1.
“It’s kind of surreal,” Morton said Thursday of entering a burning building.
“When you see it on television, there’s always a lot of smoke, maybe some flames but you can still see the person going into the building.
“It’s not really like that for real. It was pitch black and I couldn’t see a thing.”
Morton recalled the experience after being presented with an exemplary service award at a Brantford police services board meeting.
“It’s nice to get recognized but, really, I just happened to be on duty that day,” Morton said. “We have a lot of great people in this service and anyone of them would have done the same thing that day.”
He was on duty trying to catch speeders on King George Road when a motorist came by to tell him about a house fire on Brant Road.
Morton was the first to arrive and was told that a resident was still inside.
He went into the home, called out but, when he didn’t get a reply, returned to his cruiser to get a fire extinguisher.
Morton went into the home again and went up to an upper bedroom. He emptied the fire extinguisher but couldn’t douse the flames and had to retreat.
Brant County OPP officers arrived and entered the home with Morton but were turned back by the intensity of the flames. Additional officers arrived and Morton, for the fourth time, went into the home.
It was later learned the resident was in a trailer at the rear of the property.
Morton and the two OPP officers – Const. Chris Thompson and Const. Paul Drake — were taken to Brantford General Hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation.
“It’s kind of like having a sore throat,” Morton said of suffering from smoke inhalation.
The police services board on Thursday also recognized Norm Barrieau, a retired Brantford auxiliary police staff sergeant.
Barrieau’s contribution to the police service spans four decades, during which he helped bolster the ranks of the sworn police officers at numerous community events, including charity runs, ground searches and parades.
“He connected easily with the public and represented all of us with professionalism and pride,” Chief Geoff Nelson said. “He also mentored many auxiliary recruits who went on to become regular sworn officers.
“On behalf of everyone thank you for your selfless dedication to our service and our community.”
Barrieau, a retired corrections officer who worked at the Brantford jail, now works part-time at the Children’s Safety Village on Elgin Street.
He said that the best part of being an auxiliary officer is the opportunity to give back to the community.
BRIAN THOMPSON Brantford Police Chief Geoff Nelson (left) stands with Const. Jeremy Morton and retired auxiliary staff sergeant Norm Barrieau, who were honoured on Thursday by the Brantford police services board, including Brendan Ryan and chair Deb Cockerill.