RCMP officer credited for battling fire

Constable Aaron Muzzerall is with the West Coast Traffic Services stationed in Terrace, B.C.

Dear Sir:

I would like to report how very impressed I was, and no doubt a number of other people were too, with Constable Aaron Muzzerall’s effort at preventing a forest fire.

My husband and I were up in the Nass visiting friends in each of the villages and were returning to Terrace for the day.

Just past Rosswood, nearing Terrace, we saw smoke up ahead. As we rounded the corner we saw a fire on the side of the road. A tree had come down and hit the wires; one had broken and had sparked the fire. A few cars were already off to the side and had radioed the call in (no cell service there).

We were standing around feeling helpless as we had a rental car with, of course, no equipment that could help stop a fire. After about 30 minutes a RCMP car came from the (Rosswood side) lights and sirens going. We thought it was the lead vehicle for the fire crews.

Instead, Constable Muzzerall jumped out with a fire extinguisher. We smiled, thinking that wouldn’t do anything as the blaze was getting pretty big and seemed to be well into at least one tree. He tried to go at it from the front but got blown back.

He went in behind and (amazingly) got the fire significantly reduced. He then grabbed a shovel from his car and was beating at the fire, smashing it out. He dug and threw dirt on it and so on. He just kept going. We felt terrible that there was nothing we could do to help.

After about 30 more minutes, an RCMP vehicle came from the Terrace side. Again, we thought, now the fire fighters will be here. Still no. Constable Muzzerall called to see if this officer had a fire extinguisher. Luckily he did, and the officer grabbed it and hurried to Constable Muzzerall.

Again, Constable Muzzerall was able to get the fire greatly reduced. Finally a helicopter came overhead, took a look and left. The Terrace officer (I’m sorry I didn’t get his name) politely asked us to move on as the helicopter was going to be dropping water on the area.

Constable Muzzerall must have worked steadily for more than an hour trying to contain this fire. If he had not done what he did, there may well have been a serious forest fire in the area.

I am forever thankful for the work police officers do day in and day out but what Constable Muzzerall was above and beyond the call of duty. It also went unnoticed but for the few of us there.

Kathleen Sutherland,

Victoria, B.C.