News

Scott Freeman receives medal for bravery for his rescue of a neighbour during a house fire in 2016

By Jennifer Vandermeer, Norwich Gazette/IngersollTimes

Ingersoll’s Scott Freeman, back row, fourth from left, received a bronze medal for bravery during an investiture at the suites of the Lietuenant Governor of Ontario Elizabeth Dowdeswell (front row, centre) Feb. 5 at Queen’s Park. The medal was presented for Freeman’s rescue of a neighbour from a house fire in Ingersoll in November 2016.

Ingersoll’s Scott Freeman, back row, fourth from left, received a bronze medal for bravery during an investiture at the suites of the Lietuenant Governor of Ontario Elizabeth Dowdeswell (front row, centre) Feb. 5 at Queen’s Park. The medal was presented for Freeman’s rescue of a neighbour from a house fire in Ingersoll in November 2016.

Ingersoll resident Scott Freeman has been recognized with a bronze medal for bravery for rescuing a neighbor from a house fire in late 2016.

Freeman received the honour from Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Elizabeth Dowdeswell at a ceremony at Queen’s Park in Toronto on Feb. 5.

The medal and certificate were issued by the Royal Canadian Human Association “to recognize such deeds of heroism, by Canadians in civilian life, who, through their alertness, skill and concern, save or attempt to save a life, especially where those actions lie outside the ordinary duties of the person involved”.

It was Nov. 1, 2016, when Freeman heard a smoke alarm around 11 p.m. He looked out his back door to see small flames through a window.

In an account told to the Ingersoll Times at the time, Freeman said he grabbed his phone and dialed 9-1-1 then ran to his neighbour's aid.

Finding an unlocked door, Freeman entered the smoke-filled house and yelled for the man. He heard a television, and Freeman headed in that direction and then heard his neighbour call out.

“Eventually I found him,” said the 36-year-old. “I grabbed him and dragged him outside.”

Freeman said other people live in the building, but they weren't home at the time.

Firefighters were on scene within three to four minutes and his neighbour was taken to hospital.

At the time, Ingersoll Fire and Emergency Services Chief John Holmes said the fire happened in the kitchen and started with a pot on the stove.

While the flames were extinguished quickly and the damage was minor, that doesn't mean the danger the fire presented was, Holmes said.

“Any time that smoke is involved, if someone has a hard time getting out of the house or isn't alerted in time then definitely the result could have been different.”

Holmes said the incident highlights the importance of having working smoke alarms.

“That was the key to the whole thing,” he said. “That's what alerted the neighbour. It could have been a different outcome if there wasn't some working smoke alarms in there, for sure.”

When it comes to Freeman's actions, Holmes said entering a burning building without the proper gear and training isn't advisable.

“I would never recommend anybody take on something like this, but, having said that, I would say that the gentleman who performed the rescue definitely made a difference in that man's life.”