THUNDER BAY – Five Thunder Bay Police Service officers have received official commendations of great merit from the Governor General of Canada for the selfless, life-saving bravery they showed during a February 2018 incident.
Officers receiving the official commendations are:
• Sgt. Dan Irwin
• Sgt. Rick Popowich
• Cst. Matt Sombrutski
• Cst. Ryan Krupa
• Cst. Chris Kampela
On the evening of February 11, 2018 officers were dispatched to the 600 block of McTavish Street after a 911 call was received about unconscious people inside a home.
When police arrived they were immediately notified by other first responders that the carbon monoxide levels in the residence were dangerously high. The officers were warned against going inside without special protective equipment.
The officers at the scene concluded the people inside the residence would not survive if they weren’t immediately evacuated. Despite the extreme safety risk, officers decided to kick open the door, head into the home and remove the occupants.
“The officers made this decision fully aware of how dangerous and life-threatening the situation was,” said Deputy Chief Ryan Hughes. “They knowingly put their lives at risk to help others without hesitation and we are incredibly proud of them. The decision they made that evening resulted in lives being saved.
“Our officers routinely put their own safety at risk to help others and we are happy when these efforts are officially recognized like this by the Governor General of Canada.”
During the February 2018 incident officers removed two unconscious people from the main floor of the residence. Officers then entered the building and escorted a conscious female from the home while other officers carried an unconscious male from a basement apartment.
Thunder Bay Fire Rescue removed a second male whose vital signs were absent.
Five officers showed symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and were treated at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.
Of the individuals taken from the home, a 55-year-old man was pronounced deceased at the hospital while a 51-year-old man, 26-year-old woman and 62-year-old woman were treated by TBRHSC emergency staff.
Hospital staff told officers that had the victim’s exposure to the carbon monoxide been any longer, even just several minutes longer, they would have likely died from CO poisoning