Jesse Huffman was staying at the Salvation Army’s Evergreen House in January when he extinguished a fire that could have devastated the homeless shelter.
Huffman had just emerged from the shower when the incident took place. He recalled smelling smoke and investigating with a staff member. They found a mattress and blanket on fire in a bedroom, and the room was filling with smoke. An occupant of the room was present at the time.
“There was fire all over the bed, and it was starting to catch on the top bunkbed,” Huffman said. “I just turned around, dropped my stuff, grabbed the fire extinguisher and emptied it on the bed.”
Campbell River Fire Chief Thomas Doherty, who nominated Huffman, said there were 25 occupants in the shelter at the time of the fire. The fire nearly spread to the upper bunkbed, Doherty said.
“Had it not been for the quick action and bravery by Jesse Huffman, the fire would have grown rapidly, putting the life and safety of not only the occupant in the room in danger, but all other occupants in the building at risk.”
Doherty added that the shelter would also have sustained “significant damage, displacing all occupants” for an extended period of time.