A British Columbia fire evacuee is looking for a solo firefighter she says saved her home from flames with a garden hose.
Marnie Endersby has taken to social media to share her story in hopes of finding the firefighter to express her gratitude after her backyard camera captured the footage of their heroic efforts last Thursday in West Kelowna.
“I posted that photo on our Rose Valley Facebook group,” said Ms. Endersby, referring to a screenshot showing the lone firefighter trying to douse the flames.
“Many people have messaged me asking for a copy of it and they’re so touched,” she said. “It’s cool that we’re able to use it to encourage others.”
Ms. Endersby, who has lived on Pettman Road for seven years, said her family was evacuated on Thursday morning as fires engulfed her neighbourhood.
After packing up some clothes and placing a sprinkler up on the rooftop for the firefighters, Ms. Endersby, her husband and two kids headed to East Kelowna to stay at her parents’ home.
On Thursday around 10 p.m., the couple went to the base of Knox Mountain, north of Kelowna’s downtown core, to watch the blaze, which had jumped over the lake.
What they saw left them in shock.
Ms. Endersby said she then returned to her parents’ house while her husband stayed to watch the flames.
As someone who had never experienced a full-on panic attack in life, Ms. Endersby said she had one that night after receiving a call from her husband, saying the blaze was coming after their property.
“He just saw fire cresting over the hill and getting closer to our home at 2:30 a.m. He checked our backyard camera and he said: ‘babe, this is it,’” said Ms. Endersby. “He said: ‘We are about to lose our home right now.’
“I started having a panic attack … I just don’t think I can watch this.”
She ran upstairs to tell her parents.
“I sat on the couch, my mom was crying and my dad was just sombre and we watched what was going on on my phone with my husband on speakerphone,” said Ms. Endersby.
Ms. Endersby said her husband was praying at one point.
Suddenly, she saw from the security camera that two fire trucks and a team of firefighters had turned up in their driveway to douse the flames. They left the scene after an hour but the flames were still big, she said.
But when the couple looked at the camera again, they spotted one solo firefighter coming from nowhere battling the rest of the blaze with their garden hose.
Ms. Endersby said she doesn’t know why this lone firefighter decided to stay behind, but she is grateful.
“We just feel like he is our angel and our hero,” said Ms. Endersby, who stayed up until 4 a.m. to watch the scene.
When the couple woke up at 8 a.m. on Friday, Ms. Endersby said security camera footage showed “their home standing there with no major damage.”
“And we saw a smouldering, but that was it,” Ms. Endersby said. “We just like breathed a huge sigh of relief, we are just so grateful that we still had our home and our memories.”
Ms. Endersby said her family is now eager to connect with the firefighter to hear his side of the story.
“We’re just curious what the process was and what his thoughts are behind it, and it would just be amazing to be able to thank him in person,” Ms. Endersby said.
What would she say if she could meet her hero one day?
“Thank you for saving our home and our memories, especially for our children,” Ms. Endersby said.
“I would be framing your photo in our home as a reminder to never forget this blessing.”