Esquimalt Fire Rescue Capt. Troy Saldana (left), firefighter Jason Hutchinson and firefighter Morgan Williams (absent) were honoured Monday in council chambers for saving the life of a drowning man. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

Esquimalt firefighters receive Governor General’s awards

Fire Chief says quick thinking led to heroic efforts, saving life of 82-year-old man

When three Esquimalt firefighters plunged into the waters of the Gorge Waterway to attend to a drowning person in 2015, receiving an award was the furthest thing from their minds. They were after all, just doing their job.

But Fire Chief Chris Jancowski felt otherwise.

He nominated Capt. Troy Saldana and firefighters Jason Hutchinson and Morgan Williams for Governor General’s Awards after saving the life of an 82-year-old man who was in distress when crews arrived to the Tillicum Bridge at 5:30 p.m. on April 16, 2015.

“The person in the water appeared to be unconscious and face down,” Jancowski said Monday in a presentation to council. “Acting Asst. Chief Troy Saldana made a critical split-second decision to enter the water and [begin] the rescue.”

Hutchinson and Williams swam out to assist Saldana, who by then was administering CPR in the water.

RELATED: Esquimalt firefighters save drowning man

Jancowski stressed that although he offered his colleague’s names for consideration, it was a vote by the Canadian Decorations Advisory Committee that ultimately decided their actions were deemed notable.

The chief said it was an extreme privilege to present Saldana and Hutchinson with their awards at the meeting, calling their actions “heroic.” They and Williams, who was unable to attend, received a Certificate of Commendation, “in recognition of those who made a significant contribution to providing assistance to other persons in a selfless manner.”

“It’s always nice to recognized for your actions,” said Saldana, a 14-year veteran of the department. “We don’t do this job to be recognized. Day to day we see the effects of what we do, [but] to get recognized afterward by the Governor General – it’s gratifying.”

Members of Esquimalt Fire and Rescue lined the back of council’s chambers in support of their fellow firefighters.

“It’s a great honour and to have my family here and have the fire guys show up,” Hutchinson said. A member of the department since 2004, he remembers running on adrenaline that day, relying on his training and thinking fast. “We just went into the water and thankfully it was a good outcome.”

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Hospital apologizes for veteran’s five-day hallway stay

Clinical director of VGH says case of retired 77-year-old veteran ‘definitely excessive’

Colwood applies for $325k to replace stairs in Latoria Creek Park

More than 200 residents sign petition to support grant application

Sooke takes a step toward Lot A plan

Final proposal anticipated for the end of February

Greater Victoria rugby players named to national Hall of Fame

Former Canada captains, Oak Bay’s Mark Wyatt and Victoria’s Hans De Goede to inducted this spring

What to know before you tow: Langford bylaw weighs in

Officials don’t recommend personal towing, like viral video viewed 42,000 times and counting

Canada’s archive buys rare book that hints at Nazi plans for North America

The 1944 book may have served as a blueprint for a Nazi purge

Teravainen’s 3 points lift Hurricanes to 5-2 win over Canucks

Vancouver heads into all-star break on losing note

UPDATE: Trees affecting travel at Comox Airport have been trimmed

Some YQQ flights have been rerouted or cancelled due to some trees impacting the safety margins

47 men arrested by Vancouver police for allegedly seeking sex with teenage girls

Seven of those arrested have been charged as part of a two-month operation

Speaker Darryl Plecas says ‘justice’ needed for legislature employees

Plecas spoke to media at the opening of a pedestrian and cycling bridge in Abbotsford Wednesday

Advocate hopes B.C. legislature scandal leads to more transparency

‘Depressing’ that it takes a scandal to inspire freedom of information reform, says Sara Neuert

‘Dr. Lipjob’ avoids jail, gets 30-day suspended sentence

She will have to serve the 30 days in prison if she commits a breach during her two-year’s probation

Ex-Mountie involved in Taser death at Vancouver airport sues government

Kwesi Millington claims he acted in accordance with RCMP training

LETTER: Seniors home care, day programs expanding, Adrian Dix says

B.C. health minister responds to latest Seniors Advocate report

Most Read