P.A. man and friends rush to rescue, after fire threatens Sask. motel

By Nigel Maxwell
August 13, 2018 - 12:00pm Updated: August 13, 2018 - 4:53pm

The actions of four Saskatchewan comedians are being applauded after they saved 10 people from a burning motel early Saturday morning.

Shortly after 1 a.m. the group was passing through Wadena, on their way home from a show in Stenen. From the highway they could see a fire and after pulling a quick U-turn on the highway, discovered the Blue Willow Inn was on fire. Prince Albert's Kelly Taylor was among those in the vehicle who rushed to the rescue.

"We start hammering on the windows as we go up [to it] and we started looking for a hose," he said. "We wake up the owner, asking for water but he doesn't speak English so there's a loss in translation and then we get a hose and there's no tap outside."

Shortly thereafter one of Taylor's friends found a fire extinguisher and focused his attention on the flames creeping up to the roof. Taylor said he held his breath as he watched his friend in action.

"If we were five or 10 seconds different timing, that place would have been gone. You can see as the fire climbs the roof and he just gets it," Taylor said.

The men did their best to contain the fire using whatever water they could find including small water bottles and carrying buckets of water back-and-forth. Taylor said his thoughts at the time were that he and his friends would try to contain the fire but their main priority was making sure all the motel guests got out safely. Ten people including the motel owner were rescued.

"The guys were appreciative, like the kids gave us hugs on the way out," Taylor said.

On Monday, when asked to reflect back on what had happened, Taylor said he was still amazed they were able to save the motel.

"If we had driven further down the highway and found a place to turn around, that place would have been done. It was just perfect timing," he said.

Harold Narfason is the fire chief for the Wadena and District volunteer fire department. He said Taylor and his friend did a great job containing the fire, and the fire department was able to extinguish the flames shortly after arrival.

"The comedians were definitely in the right place at the right time and prevented a potential catastrophic situation," he said.

The cause of Friday's fire is still unknown and remains under investigation.


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