An Island couple is applauding their local fire department for going above and beyond the call of duty, helping out in times of need and climbing the ladder – literally.
Last fall, Ken Martin was off work and thought he’d get an early start decorating his Campbell River home for Christmas.
“I don’t like heights, but I figured, well, I’m not working, I’ll get up the ladder and get the high Christmas lights done,” Ken told Vista Radio.
“Well, when I was going up, the ladder collapsed underneath me, and I fell roughly seven feet to the ground, landed on my back on the ladder, and it turns out that I broke my T11 Vertebrae.”
According to Ken, after he called 911, local firefighters were the first on scene. Then, paramedics arrived, and he was taken to Campbell River hospital before being transferred to Victoria General.
Flash-forward to December. Just as Ken’s recovering from his fall, he experiences another personal health emergency.
“The week of Christmas, I couldn’t breathe at all,” he recalls. “My wife, Wendy, was going to take me to the hospital to find out why, but we ended up calling 911. The firefighters that came to the house that day were the same ones that came in October.”
Ken’s back home now but had a surprising knock at the door just the other day – a checkup from the firefighters that came to his rescue weeks prior.
“We moved here from the Mainland almost three years ago, and stuff like that never happens. I’m not an emotional person, but I just felt like I was going to get teary-eyed about it,” he said.
Noticing Ken and Wendy’s home is still adorned in its festive attire, fire crews offered to take matters into their own hands, climbing the ladder, so Ken doesn’t have to.
Speaking with our newsroom, fire chief Thomas Doherty says a few members from the local department are arranging a date on their days off to head over and take the Christmas lights down for the couple.
“Obviously, this is something that really touches home when you look at how this all played. It really speaks for what firefighters do for the community,” Doherty said.
“The crews noticed that the Christmas lights were still up, so on their days off, they stopped by the home and asked if they could assist with taking those lights down. The homeowner was very appreciative.”
In fact, the offer came as a “great big surprise” for Ken and Wendy. “We really appreciate it. They didn’t have to offer anything like that. My wife and I were blown away by it,” Ken added.