A Halifax Transit driver is being hailed a hero after rescuing an injured man from a burning vehicle.
In the early morning hours on Friday, bus operator Talbot Boyer’s shift was coming to an end; but, his night was far from over.
“Just as I’m going around the bend on Upper Water Street, I see a car upside down on the sidewalk on Valour Way,” recounts Boyer. “I took another quick look at it, and I saw that it was on fire.”
The only person at the scene, and unsure whether someone was inside the burning car, Boyer stopped his bus and ran towards the blazing vehicle. With a heavy smokescreen obstructing his view, he called out, hoping to hear a response.
Boyer heard someone answer.
Springing into action, he smashed the driver’s side window of the car with nearby debris from the crash.
“All I could see was smoke and fire, and I could hear him burning and struggling to get out,” says Boyer. “I went to the back of the vehicle, and the back window was all smashed out on contact. He sticks his hand out, and I reach for his hand, I grab him and try to pull him out, and I can’t get him out.”
Boyer then rushed to the passenger side door.
“I see him stick his other hand out, so I got down on my hands and knees, and I drug him out of the vehicle on his back across the glass,” says Boyer. “I’m glad I was able to do that because at that time he was screaming for his life, he was on fire, and I thought I was going to watch this man burn to death.”
Boyer says the man’s legs were on fire, so he doused the flames with snow.
“It just escalated quickly; it had to be done,” says Boyer.
Halifax Regional Police officers arrived on the scene shortly after – and just in time. Constable John MacLeod says the car exploded shortly after the driver was pulled to out of the vehicle.
“This was a traumatic event for everyone involved,” says MacLeod. “Both the transit driver and our officers did everything they could to help the man, and we certainly commend them for their actions.”
Boyer says the entire scenario lasted about five minutes – minutes that will remain with him for a lifetime.