Teens save senior in Richmond Hill fire

by | Sep 17, 2013 | News

Fire crews had extinguished the blaze at 35 Lake Ave., Richmond Hill. SOURCE: CITYNEWS TORONTO

Fire crews extinguished the blaze at 35 Lake Ave., Richmond Hill early Tuesday morning. SOURCE: CITYNEWS TORONTO

By: Natalie Stoberman

A Richmond Hill house fire on 35 Lake Ave. was the scene of a heroic rescue attempt by two teens who rescued a 70-year-old man trapped inside.

Richmond Hill Fire Chief Steve Kraft told Humber News the teens, aged 16 and 17, were walking home from the Grand Theft Auto V midnight release when they heard smoke alarms and dialed 911 before breaking down the front door.

“We received the call at 1:15 a.m. and the first truck arrived at 1:20 a.m., and the man was rescued within 15 minutes…,” said Kraft. “At one point all six stations, 25 firefighters and three chief officers were at the call… The firefighters did a great job, the first crew extinguished the fire and the second crew did the rescue.”

The man was found semi-conscious by firefighters in his living room in what Kraft called a two-alarm blaze with significant damage done to the house. The man and both teens were taken to hospital. Kraft said the man has been in serious but stable condition since around 4 a.m.   He added that the teens are fine and have been released.

Some Humber students were impressed by the teens’ valiant act, but Sally Gomez, a second year paralegal studies student, said it was just as dangerous as it was brave.

“In the end you never know what’s inside the house, what if they both got injured,” Gomez said. “Thank God it turned out OK but it could have been three people instead of one in critical condition.”

Nonetheless, Kraft said he will be speaking to the teens but has yet to decide how they will be recognized.

“What the boys did was commendable,” said Kraft. “They were the first to call and allowed us to respond quicker, and if he pulls through they would’ve saved the man’s life.”