Four local youths were honoured by the Governor General of Canada Dec. 10 for putting out flames that burned two men last January.
The youths, along with one of the men, Thornhill resident Murray Hamer, each received a Certificate of Commendation, signed by Canada’s Governor General David Johnston, which recognizes those who have made a significant contribution by providing assistance to another in a selfless manner.
Receiving the certificates alongside Hamer at a ceremony held in the city’s council chambers were his sons Patrick Hamer and Nickolas Hamer, his niece Dayne Wright and nephew Parker Wright.
“You guys are just amazing,” said Terrace city councillor Lynne Christiansen to the group.
“It could have been much worse.”
Murray Hamer, who suffered second degree burns as a result of catching on fire, agrees.
On the afternoon of January 11 2012, Murray Hamer was working on his farm with helper Jess Hansen, who was filling a 4×4 quad with a jerry can of fuel before moving on to a nearby truck to empty the can of the rest of its contents.
In the meantime, the youths were feeding horses nearby when they heard Murray’s call for help.
A spark had ignited the fuel, which stunned Hansen as he had caught on fire. He froze, ignited, holding the jerry can.
Murray stepped in and pulled the can out of Hansen’s hand, but when he threw it down onto the ground he spilled fuel on the ground and himself, catching on fire too.
While Murray dragged Hansen to a nearby hydrant, he called for help.
Patrick grabbed a fire extinguisher and Dayne grabbed a blanket.
Parker said “stop, drop and roll” – which Murray did, although the fuel that had spilled on him meant the flames would re-ignite.
Patrick had learned to use a fire extinguisher before and doused the two flaming men at the base of the flames.
The youth threw a blanket over Hansen’s head, and one of them opened up the hydrant under which Hamer slid.
And after the fire on Hansen had burned out, Dayne and Nickolas threw a blanket over Murray next.
Murray suffered second degree burns on the back of one of his legs and his hand and Hansen emerged, luckily, with some singed hairs as the fire had not burned through his clothes.
And after the incident, Thornhill fire chief Wes Patterson said the youths did exactly what they were supposed to do in that instance.
“I am very thankful that they did what they did because I was so out of control at the time,” said Murray to councillors and an audience during the presentation. “It certainly is a good thing that they were there.”
Deputy mayor James Cordeiro presented each of the five with their own Certificate of Commendation, a Canadian honour awarded through a voting process held by the Canadian Decorations Advisory Committee.