Off Beat Fatal Vancouver fires of yesteryear ignited lifesaving actions

first_imgTwo stories of heroic rescues were fleshed out following a recent Columbian story about major fires in 1942 and 1982.The blazes killed a total of 11 people; the toll could have been higher if rescuers hadn’t risked their own lives.Michael Oris got a Carnegie Hero medal in 1942. Forty years later, Lorn Grindle got an armful of stitches, his brother said.A dormitory fire on Nov. 13, 1942, killed seven Kaiser Shipyard workers. Ian MacMillian, a retired Kaiser physician and author of a Northwest history of the Carnegie organization, sent an email noting Oris’ role as a lifesaver.The Carnegie Hero Fund’s website ( describes the actions of the 31-year-old truck driver.“From outside the building, Oris went into a corridor that was filled with smoke. Tying a handkerchief across his nose and mouth, he ran in the corridor, knocking on doors of rooms at both sides. He forced open a door 35 feet from the entrance, entered a room in which smoke was dense, and carried an unconscious man to the outside.“Again entering the corridor, he ran to the door of another room, forced it open, and again carried an unconscious man to the outside. Oris entered the corridor a third time and opened the door of a room still farther from the entrance and entered it. Flames suddenly filled the room, burning Oris; and he backed into the corridor, in which there were flames except for a small space through the center,” said the citation.“His clothing and hair became ignited; he ran to the outside doorway and stumbled through it, rolling on wet grass and extinguishing the flames.”last_img read more

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