Two Victoria teenagers kept their cool when their home caught fire in March.
The 100-year old McClure Street house caught fire and became entirely engulfed in flames within 10 minutes. But, Sam and Finn Parker saw the flames and were able to get their three-year-old brother Jasper, their grandmother and their downstairs tenant out and unharmed.
Friday morning the duo were awarded with the Victoria Fire Department’s Citizens Meritorious Award for what they did.
“The performance that these guys demonstrated on that day … in my opinion it was very courageous,” said Victoria Fire Chief Bruce Paul. “By definition, courage doesn’t mean the absence of fear, it’s the act of managing your fears, keeping everything in a proper perspective and doing what you know to be best, and keeping that all in a sensible order in a chaotic situation. It’s very impressive for a couple young guys.”
The fire happened March 19 when both teens were at home with their brother and grandmother.
Sam Parker, 16, had quickly gone upstairs to change, and when he came downstairs he found Jasper sitting next to flames.
“The weird thing was, you couldn’t hear anything. No glass breaking, nothing, but I came downstairs and I saw big glass on the floor, the curtains were on fire in the living room,” Sam said.”So I grabbed Jasper and brought him back to the back yard, and I went back to the living room, grabbed the fire extinguisher and I yelled ‘fire!’”
That’s when Finn, 13, realized something was wrong.
“I came downstairs and saw it, then I thought I have to get out,” he said. “I went downstairs to where the tenants are and knocked very, very loudly, and then I got Thomas, one of our tenants out.”
|Sam and Finn Parker each received a Citizen’s Meritorious Award from the Victoria Fire Department for making sure everyone got out when their house caught fire in March. Nicole Crescenzi/VICTORIA NEWS|
The boys continued to try to extinguish the fire, but the fire spread too fast in the character home. They made sure everyone, including their grandmother, was out then rushed outside to wait for the fire department.
Their home was destroyed, leaving no personal belongings for either boy, except Finn’s bicycle which had been parked outside. “But, that got stolen a couple weeks after the fire happened, which wasn’t great. It was really nice and the only thing that survived,” he said.
The boys’ parents were horrified when they got home, but that terror soon turned to relief.
“As a dad I’m very very proud of how my boys handled the situation, everyone got out safe and sound,” said their father, Mike McComb, adding that the whole experience has been bittersweet. “It’s hard to be happy and sad at the same time, but today’s a proud day, it’s all about the boys.”
When asked what it felt like to get the award, the brothers had distinctly different reactions.
“I feel really happy about it, I feel a little nervous, too,” said Sam. “It just feels really good to be honoured like this.”
Finn was more matter-of-fact about it.
“I feel like it’s something anyone would have done in the same situation,” he said. “Being awarded seems odd to me; it seems natural to help when there’s a crisis at the time.”