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Off-duty Sooke Mountie and Calgary firefighter save unconscious woman's life

RCMP Cpl. Joe Holmes and Calgary firefighter Sheldon Burton saved care giver who collapsed unconscious on the street.
Cpl. Joe Holmes

A Sooke RCMP officer and a Calgary firefighter are being hailed local heroes for saving a woman’s life on Saturday after she collapsed on a Sooke street.

The call came around noon on Saturday shortly after Sheldon Burton, an off-duty Calgary firefighter, and his girlfriend Kimberley Dueck, who were in Sooke to do some dog sitting over the weekend, went for a walk and noticed a distressed man in a wheelchair.

Burton and Dueck approached the man and quickly realized his caregiver, a 53 year old woman, had collapsed on the side of the roadway at Aiken and West Coast roads.

“The male was unable to assist nor provide any information about how long the woman had been laying there,” said Sooke RCMP Staff Sgt. Jeff McArthur, adding the couple tried and their two dogs, Lucy and Jerry, calmed the man down, while Burton checked the woman’s vital signs.

To everyone’s dismay, the woman was unconscious, unresponsive and appeared to be in cardiac arrest, at which point Burton started CPR, while Kim called 911.

As it happens, Sooke RCMP Cpl. Joe Holmes, who was off-duty at the time, was heading into Langford when he noticed Burton attempting roadside CPR on the still-unconscious woman. Holmes stopped and got out to assist.

“She was unresponsive ... we stopped CPR and checked, and there was no pulse whatsoever, so we continued CPR,” Holmes said, while in the meantime Vince Schutt, a Sooke Fire and Rescue volunteer firefighter, arrived with an automated external defibrillator.

Using the AED, they were able to successfully resuscitate the woman, after which she went to hospital for further assessment and is expected to make a full recovery, McArthur added, applauding the two Good Samaritans’ quick thinking as well.

“It shows how very important it is for everyone to have these skills ... I believe that were it not for Burton’s quick thinking, this may been a very different outcome. I would like to personally commend all those involved for their action.”

“It’s not about us,” Holmes said. “We saved her and that’s reward enough.”