A Nanaimo bylaw officer was awarded for his actions earlier this month when he helped evacuate people from a large fire on Wesley Street, where multiple tents in a homeless encampment caught fire. Mayor Leonard Krog presented an appreciation award of bravery to Barry Hornby at the city’s regular council meeting on Dec. 21.
“The fire fully destroyed multiple tents and triggered a number of propane tank explosions, which shook nearby buildings,” Krog said. “Bylaw officer Barry Hornby, rushed into the scene of this fiercely burning fire of tents and contents, with tanks exploding and guided people to safety in the immediate vicinity, out of harms way.”
Hornby said his 12 years experience as a firefighter helped him to safely evacuate people from the area.
“Unfortunately some of the individuals were under the influence of some kind of intoxicant and were sort of mesmerized by the fire and were not moving out of the way so I was concerned for their safety,” Hornby said.
Hornby said he saw a lot of debris in front of the fire, which would impede firefighters when he arrived. “I was dragging some of the shopping carts out of the way and some of the debris to open [the area] up safely and also to move people safely around.”
The situation could have been catastrophic had Hornby not reacted the way he did, according to Krog. “This is courage at its finest. I need also to convey that this is not in his job description as a bylaw enforcement officer.”
Hornby said though the work he does is a team effort, he was happy and humbled to be recognized as an individual.