A police officer who was involved in the rescue of an elderly woman during the Seclusion Bay fire last summer has saved another life, RCMP say.
Around 4 a.m. on Friday, police received a call that a grey SUV was parked near Richter Street and Cawston Avenue with its engine revving for around 20 minutes and that smoke was coming from the engine compartment.
“Upon arrival, police found a male passed out behind the driver’s seat of the vehicle that was now on fire,” said Const. Steve Holmes. “Police tried to wake the driver, with no success, so a rear window had to be broken out for officers to unlock the vehicle.
“The driver was pulled to safety as the flames began to engulf the vehicle.”
Fire crews arrived to put out the blaze and police officers said the rescued man, who had regained consciousness, was exhibiting symptoms of alcohol impairment.
After being medically cleared, the 27-year-old Osoyoos man was taken to the RCMP detachment and provided breath samples that police say were two and a half times the legal limit.
He was later released on a promise to appear in court on recommended charges of impaired driving and having a blood alcohol level over .08.
“Police are grateful to the member of the public who called in the incident in a timely manner,” said Holmes. “Were it not for the public’s assistance and the quick thinking of police at the scene, the driver may have perished in the ensuing fire.”
He also added that the officer who pulled the driver to safety—Const. Greg Barnard—assisted in the rescue of a woman during the Seclusion Bay wildfire last summer. At the time, he was an auxiliary officer.
As part of the evacuations, he and another officer woke a sleeping woman and escorted her to safety as trees started to burn around them. They were taken to safety by a Kelowna Fire Rescue boat that was waiting for evacuees.