A tragic outcome for the driver and sleeping residents inside the four connected homes was avoided, all thanks to a police officer who happened to see the whole thing – changing a potentially deadly situation into one of heroic rescues and immense appreciation for his actions.
CFD annual recognition event
Calgary Police Constable Jason Schneider (middle) is recognized for life-saving
actions by Fire Chief Steve Dongworth (right) and Colin Senkow (left),
member of the Calgary Fire Department Honour Guard.
“I’m very honoured to receive this award,” Schneider said. “It’s highly prestigious.”
Schneider is one of 11 Calgarians to receive a Commendation today at Calgary Fire Department’s annual recognition event held during Fire Prevention Week.
Another 23 people received Recognition awards for their significant efforts during a fire-attended emergency, where people or property were in danger and their actions avoided injuries or damages; and 10 more received Appreciation awards for providing basic first aid or an act of kindness to a victim.
Looking back, Schneider says he didn’t see himself in danger as much as he did the potential victims. “That’s from all the training we get as first responders, so really, anyone would have done what I did.”
Modesty aside, what he did clearly deserves a medal.
Back at the crash site
Just beyond the threshold of one home, a woman stood frozen in disbelief and shock. Schneider yelled at her to get out of the house but the damaged door blocked her exit. He managed to free the door and quickly ordered the woman and her elderly father away from further risk.
Schneider then turned to the driver, still unconscious and trapped. He crawled inside the burning car, thinking, “If the car blows at least I’ll be inside and underneath it.”
Just as he freed the driver, four other police officers arrived on scene. Two of them grabbed fire extinguishers from the cruisers and started on the fire; the others banged on neighbours’ doors. One of the residents later said he thought his house was being broken into. He was right, sort of, but in a good way.
Firefighters and EMS arrived within a few minutes to complete the fire suppression and first aid duties. Now when Schneider thinks about it, he says, “Without a doubt what stands out most for me was how the five of us (police officers) worked together before fire and EMS arrived. I couldn’t have gotten all those people out of their homes, managed the fire and saved the driver, too. Together though, it was pretty impressive.”
Schneider’s police colleagues who helped that night also received Recognition awards today: Constables Greg Burnett, Marty Woodrow, Renee Moore and Dan Rogers.
Visit The City of Calgary newsroom for the full list of award recipients and their respective heroics.