Advanced care paramedic Jen Hastie was moments away from her Ladner home after her Saturday (Jan. 28) shift at Station 245 in Vancouver. Little did she know her heroic work for the day was far from done.
Hastie noticed smoke or fog blowing across the road near 55B Street in Ladner. She rolled down her car window and recognized the distinctive smell of a house fire. She slowed down to investigate and drove another block, then turned around to see flames coming from the back side of a house, from the back porch or patio. A nearby bush was ablaze too.
Hastie immediately contacted B.C. Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) dispatch and told them to call Delta Fire.
“I went running up to the front door, I pounded on the door and rang the doorbell. When a woman and man opened the door I told them your house is on fire and spreading quickly, you need to get out!” recalled Hastie.
The couple said their son was still downstairs and the dog was in the house too. Hastie told them not to go get him and she would ensure that he got out. She knocked on the basement window yelling for the son to get out. On her way to the house next door she looked back and saw the family and dog safely going across the street.
“I had noticed the neighbour’s roof was catching fire. When there was no answer at the front door, I ran around to the back and pounded on the glass patio door, but no one was home,” Hastie continued. “That’s when I inhaled a lot of smoke as ash and thick smoke were blowing right at me.”
Delta Fire arrived and Hastie went home but had a reactive airway and was coughing quite a bit. She went back to the scene and her paramedic colleagues, who were on standby at the fire, treated her for minor smoke inhalation. The next day, she went back to work.
“Anyone in the situation would have done the same thing,” Hastie added. “It was a little terrifying, but I know how quickly fire can spread and what it does to people.”
“I was running off adrenaline and just hoping everyone got out. I wasn’t sure if they (residents) were aware their house was on fire and if they were aware of how bad it was.”
Delta Fire praised Hastie’s swift actions.
“The fire appeared to have spread quickly and I truly feel that the outcome for the occupants may have been far worse if it weren’t for her heroic efforts,” said Delta Deputy Chief Tim Ipsen.