Edmonton Fire Fighter Hailed for Off-Duty Rescue

September 14 • 2018

An Edmonton, Alberta fire fighter who came upon an accident scene on his way into work is being hailed as a hero after pulling a man out of a burning vehicle with just seconds to spare.

Chris Scott, a captain and 17-year member of Edmonton Local 209, was driving into work for a night shift at Station 4 on April 16 when he came across a frightening accident scene. The driver, a 35-year-old man, had a medical emergency that caused his vehicle to swerve and hit another vehicle, causing his car to burst into flames. The man was unable to exit the car on his own because the door was jammed and he was surrounded by airbags.

When bystanders were unable to confirm that everyone was out of the burning vehicle, Scott sprang into action, pulling the driver to safety from a rear door with the help of another man. The man’s feet were about to start burning, and Scott estimates the driver would have died in another minute or less.

“I just saw this car on fire and thought, I’d better make sure no one’s in there,” Scott told the IAFF, explaining that while he didn’t have any equipment at the time, his training and experience helped him address the incident safely.

Scott later had an opportunity to meet the man he rescued, David Liska and to be personally thanked for his actions. Scott was modest in return, saying they were both lucky. Scott said nine times out of ten, he takes a different route to work than he did that day.

The two also returned to the scene of the rescue for a media interview in June, but Scott downplays his 15 minutes of fame. “I think any fire fighter would have done the same thing,” he said. “I’m just glad he’s okay, he’s 100 per cent now.”

Liska also expressed his gratitude to Scott in a Facebook post. “There were so many things that lined up perfectly to have Chris Scott save my life with seconds to spare,” he wrote. “While everyone stood and filmed with their phone, no one even checked the car. My feet and legs were already getting so hot. They would have filmed me burning alive… Chris stopped ran past everyone and went right to the car when he heard no one checked.”

Edmonton Local 209 President Greg Holubowich said he was proud of Scott and his actions, which only exemplified the bravery and dedication of the union’s members. “It’s not a 9-to-5 job,” he said. “Our members are great, they are consummate professionals who are always prepared to provide help whenever they see the need.”