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

heroism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Patrick brothers who shaped modern hockey also tried, but failed, to remove violence

New history thesis shows efforts to sell a “clean game” in Oak Bay

Central Saanich to formally inform Agricultural Land Commission about soccer pitch proposal

Move is meant for information only with no application having come forward yet

Victoria man to run marathon after overcoming rare cancer diagnosis

Nigel Deacon was diagnosed with ocular melanoma in 2010

Burger sales bring in $5,000 to build Imagination Libraries in Greater Victoria

United Way of Greater Victoria and Big Wheel Burger team up to get kids reading

Donated sculpture in Sidney’s Beacon Park a testament to perseverance

Victoria artist Armando Barbon picked up sculpting 22 years ago

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Most Read