KENSINGTON – A Kensington police officer is being credited with saving the life of a town resident from a smoke-filled apartment.
Kensington Police Chief Lewie Sutherland said Cst. Joseph Arsenault managed to make his way through thick smoke, locate a man who had passed out in a chair and bring him to safety.
“Cst. Arsenault and I received a call to go to a possible fire, last week, at 40 Woodleigh Drive, from another resident in the building,” he said. “Cst. Arsenault was already on Woodleigh Drive when the call came in.”
Sutherland said he arrived seconds after Arsenault along with Kensington Fire Chief Alan Sudsbury.
“He (Arsenault) opened the door and was met with a wall of smoke,” he said. “Not knowing if there was anybody in there, he went in and he found a guy that was passed out in a chair near the dining room. He couldn’t get him awake.”
Sutherland then entered the apartment.
“It was bad,” he said. “We couldn’t even talk because the smoke was that bad. Joe hauled him out.”
“The guy had fallen asleep while cooking a pot of potatoes and they burned dry and caught fire,” he said. “The smoke had gotten into the apartment downstairs and that’s why they called in the possible fire. We were lucky to find him.”
Island EMS ambulance service was at the scene and treated the man and Arsenault.
Sutherland said everything did work out well in the end but it was close.
“Another two or three minutes and the guy never would have made it,” he said. “He couldn’t of. I couldn’t see Joe and Joe couldn’t see, the smoke was that thick. The fire chief opened the patio door to get some of the smoke out while we were getting him out. Joe saved the guy’s life.”
“It was pretty quick,” the police chief said. “I don’t think he realized what he had done until after it was over. Anybody just could have said, we don’t know if there’s anybody in there are we going to risk our own lives to go in? But he went in.”
Sutherland said Arsenault didn’t know the layout of the apartment and was blinded by the smoke.
“He stumbled around and found the guy,” he said.
Sutherland said the smoke was caused by a pot burning on the stove.