Alumni Recognized for Quick Thinking and Bravery
Tuesday, December 9, 2014

When firefighters receive a call that someone is trapped inside a burning house, they immediately jump into action. They put everything they’ve learned to the test and do what they need to do to help those in need.

On October 24, 2013, two MI graduates were working with the City of Kenora Fire and Emergency Services when the alarm sounded. Both were quick to the scene and their actions that day have earned them the Ontario Medal for Firefighter Bravery.

A home was on fire and there was someone inside. The situation was serious enough to warrant calling off-duty employees and volunteer firefighters to the scene.

Kenton Ammerman, a graduate of MI’s fire rescue program in Stephenville (2008) was on duty while his colleague and fellow alumnus Earl Bichon (2000) was off that day.

Upon arrival, the team was met by family members who had made several failed attempts to enter the home. They were still unclear about the exact location of their mother and suggested checking the basement. Acting Captain Terry McLeod entered the area through a small window, but was told the woman had just been spotted in a main floor bedroom.

That’s when Ammerman stepped in. He entered the hot, smoke-filled bedroom through a broken window and found the woman. However, the track of the fire made it difficult to drag her to an open window.

Although off-duty, Bichon attended the scene and quickly noticed that McLeod was still in the basement and that Ammerman was struggling to get the woman out. Without even time to put on a breathing apparatus, he rushed in to help get the woman to safety.

At the end of the day, all involved made it our safely, but not without some powerful acts of teamwork, bravery and quick thinking on the parts of Acting Captain Terry McLeod and firefighters Kenton Ammerman and Earl Bichon.

The Ontario Medal for Firefighter Bravery was created in 1976 and is awarded annually to honour firefighters who have gone above and beyond to protect and serve their community. This year, the awards were presented on November 27.