Constable Patti Evans with the Hope RCMP was the first to arrive on scene and observed a large amount of smoke coming from the open door of the unit, and was advised that someone was still inside.
The officer approached the door and could see the feet of a person laying on the floor face up, and the unit filled with flames and smoke. She called out to the person and received no response, and then dropped to the floor, grabbed the males feet and dragged him toward the door. The officer was able to drag the male out of the unit to safety as flames were beginning to grow. A member of the Hope Fire Department arrived shortly after and helped drag the male clear of the building into the parking lot further away from the now large fire in the unit. The Hope Fire Department was able put out the fire containing it to the unit where the fire started.
"The 80 year old male victim regained consciousness and was taken to hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation and serious burns which were sustained" said Corporal Lea-Anne Dunlop. "Despite the heroic efforts of the officer to save the males life he later passed away in hospital".
Constable Evans was checked by Emergency Health Services as she had inhaled some smoke, and later returned to work ensuring she was available to speak to the family of the deceased male to answer any questions, and provide any support they may need.
"Despite the tragic outcome the officer is being recognized by her peers for her brave and heroic attempt to save the males life" said Inspector Hilton Smee, the acting Officer in Charge of the Upper Fraser Valley RCMP. "Constable Patti Evans will be recommended for an award for her selfless actions which clearly epitomize her dedication and selflessness to protect the community she serves".
This fire is believed to have been the cause of careless smoking, with a cigarette suspected of lighting the sofa in the unit on fire. This is a tragic example of a fire that could have been avoided. The name of the deceased is not being released at this time. Our thoughts remain with his family.