‘Heroes among us’ earn thanks

Neighbour has high praise for efforts to contain Chilliwack fire.

Photo showing fire damage to condo and the fire's proximity to neighbours.

In the early morning hours of Tuesday July 31, the brave men of the Chilliwack Fire Department – Fire Hall No. 4 Sardis, saved my family’s home from near destruction, and we thank them all from the bottom of our hearts. Specifically, I’d like to give a warm, heartfelt shout-out to Lt. Eric Davies whom was on Incident Command on that scariest of nights. He performed his duties with calm skill and cool precision. As the fire raged three stories high and grew more intense, at the unit next to ours, he directed his fire crew with the calm demeanor and professionalism that I have not often seen in my lifetime.

During those tense moments, as the fire grew, I could only stand back with Theresa and watch wondering if the flames that were destroying the property next door would extend onto our home and burn down all that we had. We trembled as we watched the fire burn stronger for we only had the clothes that we had on and nothing else to claim as our own. Nobody was hurt and nobody was trapped, there would be no human injuries or lives lost on this night… in this blaze. For that, all of us here at The Woods are thankful.

Within a few hours, thankfully, the firemen were able to extinguish the fire and soon after we were allowed back into our home to collect a few things as we made plans to stay elsewhere. During this traumatic time Lt. Davies communicated with us in a steady calm just as he communicated throughout the blaze with his team of firefighters. In the end everyone was safe and the fire was contained to a single unit. Our thoughts go out to our neighbours who lost their home and nearly all of its contents and to the tenants of surrounding units, like ours, who received less severe fire and water damage.

The next day I paid a visit to Fire Hall No. 1 in downtown Chilliwack and spoke to Fire Prevention Captain Don Van Beest. I wanted to find out a little bit more about Lt. Eric Davies. Capt. Beest explained to me, with a certain glow and father-like admiration, that Eric deserves credit for his professionalism and stated, “Eric is very, very good at what he does.”

So, this letter is really meant to be a sincere thank you to Lt. Davies and his crew from Fire Hall No. 4, and to any of the other career or paid-on-call firefighters who pulled on their boots and threw on a helmet to come save whatever they could save on that most unsettling of nights. The efforts, sacrifice, and precision in which this group of men performed needs to be recognized and that’s what I’m doing here. Thanks to every single one of you men…your efforts have not gone unnoticed!

Finally, I’m not sure who it was, but some brave young man upon noticing the fire at 1:45 a.m., knocked hard on my front door, rang the doorbell multiple times and shouted, “Fire, Fire…Get Out!” I believe he continued doing this for surrounding tenants too. He woke me from a deep sleep, and in turn I woke Theresa and we were able to rush out of our home and away from danger. To you, whoever you are, thank you. This old world can be tough sometimes and tends to throw challenges and certain danger our way from time to time. It’s comforting to know that heroes do indeed live among us.

Blair Whyte

The Woods at Garrison Crossing