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

PHOTOS: Thousands show for 40th GoodLife Marathon in downtown Victoria

New records, first-time runners, and stories of resilience

Mother of alleged hit-and-run victim hopes municipalities will work together to improve crosswalk

Young woman injured, dog killed when struck by driver on marked crosswalk at Foul Bay Road

Here comes the rain: Victoria can expect post Thanksgiving showers all week

Mild, rainy weather expected from Tuesday to Saturday

Opponents of Elizabeth May criticize her push to scrap temporary foreign worker program

May has proposed to scrap the federal program which supplies local business with temporary workers

Victoria woman uses loss to raise awareness of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

City of Victoria to recognize Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day Oct. 15

VIDEO: Langley woman’s security camera records its own theft

Langley family discovers early morning grab was recorded

Canadian Snowbirds plane crashes before air show in Atlanta

Pilot lands safely after ejecting from jet

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

B.C. VIEWS: Wolf kill, not backcountry bans, saving caribou

B.C.’s largest herds turn the corner from extinction

Pearson nets shootout winner as Canucks clip Flyers 3-2

Vancouver picks up second straight home win

Map on Elections Canada website sends Nanaimo-Ladysmith voters to landfill

Address for polling station correct, but Google Map address differs

BC Children’s Hospital launches 2 new virtual care sites bringing total to 19 across province

Provincial initiative allows pediatric patients to see health specialists through video

‘Wham-bam out the door’: Surrey man’s front yard left ruined by scamming landscaper

Resident warns neighbours to be careful of door-to-door salesmen

Most Read