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

Beacon Avenue pot shop dispute heading to court

The two sides are scheduled to meet in early January 2020 in a Victoria courtroom

Judge’s decision set for January in dangerous driving trial for crash that left Saanich girl unresponsive

Tenessa Nikirk is charged with one count of dangerous driving after Leila Bui was struck in 2017

Donations down, Peninsula Santa’s Helpers worry heading into final week of toy drive

Coin, toy drive supports 250 children registered with the Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank

Oak Bay Police melt dozens of guns into metal cube

Set of rare dueling muskets could go to museum

Victoria Police Department taking too long to respond to emergency calls

A new report says VicPD is not meeting its 911 response targets

VIDEO: Harbour Air makes history with first electric aircraft test flight

Successful flight marks first of its kind in the world

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Dec. 10

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you have a real or artificial Christmas tree?

The lights are up, holiday shoppers are bustling through the streets and… Continue reading

Tavares scores twice as Maple Leafs earn 4-1 win over Canucks

Vancouver sees two-game win streak snapped

UPDATED: No survivors in Gabriola Island plane crash: RCMP

Coroner confirms multiple fatalities after small plane goes down Tuesday night near Nanaimo

The Grinch who Stole a Hedge: Security camera captures Chilliwack tree theft

RCMP arrives as person calmly walks away with tree in downtown area

The Russell Troupe finds a comfort zone in small Island community

Family gathering with two parents and five kids a common scene around Chemainus

Salmonella outbreak in Canada linked to rodents and snakes

92 cases of salmonella across six provinces, including B.C.

Meng Wanzhou wins right to more documents involving arrest at Vancouver airport

Defence lawyers allege the Huawei executive was unlawfully detained, searched and interrogated

Most Read