Editorial – Firefighters Fought Through Intense Heat to Rescue Victims of Deadly Fire

In Editor Choice, Editorial

The news shook the community of Port Hope.

Word travelled fast that two people perished in a fire on Friday, October 8, 2021.

Port Hope Fire and Emergency Services were dispatched to reports of a structure fire on Bruton Street shortly after 11 am.

As Chief Dan Smith of Port Hope Fire and Emergency Services said at one point. It’s unusual to have daytime working structure fires.

As crews responded they were updated by dispatch that flames were breaking through the windows.

Firefighters knew it was a confirmed working fire at that point.

They were also told that people were trapped in the residence. Again, something that is uncommon in a daytime fire.

When crews arrived on scene they were met with thick black smoke and flames shooting from the rear window of the residence.

Day turned into night with thick black smoke blanketing the surrounding area.

Suppression is the main priority in fighting a fire – unless someone is trapped. Then it’s rescue.

Port Hope Fire and Emergency Services in a volunteer fire department.

That’s not to say they don’t get paid, but it’s a far cry from what a full-time service would get.

So during the day, firefighters would leave their regular jobs to respond to the firehall, then go to the scene of the fire.

Believe me, they don’t do it for the money.

It’s tragic that two people lost their lives. Words can’t express the sorrow the community feels for the victims and their families.

But in knowing that. The community must also know the firefighters did everything humanly possible to rescue the occupants of the residence.

The word “hero” may be used commonly these days, but make no mistake that each one of these firefighters are heroes for going above and beyond in trying to rescue the two people who were trapped as quickly as they could.

Scorched bunker gear and destroyed breathing apparatus sit on one of the bumpers of the firetruck back at the firehall on Ontario Street. A destroyed singed Captain’s fire helmet show the extreme heat firefighters braved in trying to rescue the victims.

A social media post said firefighters first went into a defensive attack before trying to rescue the victims trapped inside.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Having been around firefighting for most of my life looking at the gear and helmets those firefighters gave it their all.

It’s obviously and most certainly is a tragedy what happened on Friday.

But there was nothing more firefighters could give.

It’s by the grace of God that firefighters weren’t seriously burned or weren’t killed with extreme heat they faced.

Members of the Port Hope Police should also be commended in rescuing a person from the flames along with an off-duty firefighter.

Today’s Northumberland offers our extreme condolences to the family and friends of the two victims of Friday’s fire.

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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