WINNIPEG – A 21-year-old man is being hailed a hero after pulling a man from a burning vehicle.
It happened just before midnight at a condo complex off Kenaston Boulevard near Grant Avenue.
Just before midnight, police say a 65-year man suffered a medical emergency behind the wheel of his car and drove over a curb and hit the condo.
Tristan Gareau, 21, was driving by after a first date and noticed smoke coming from the car.
“I wasn’t going to stop but thought what if someone’s hurt,” said Gareau.
He says he pulled into the parking lot and saw people standing around watching as the cars tires were still spinning.
“I saw there was someone in the car,” said Gareau, “then the front tires blew up and the front of the car burst into flames.”
Gareau says that’s when he opened the driver’s door but heavy smoke pushed him back. He took a deep breath and went to unbuckle the man who was unresponsive but still had his foot on the accelerator, said Gareau.
“I guess adrenaline kicked in because I don’t know how I got the strength to pull him out,” said Gareau.
He says he dragged the man five feet from the car, “like a doll,” and that’s when two Winnipeg Police officers arrived and pulled the man further away from the car.
“Those officers were on their way to another call when they were flagged down,” said Det. Sgt. Natalie Aitken. A police news release Wednesday morning stated that the police officers pulled the victim from the burning car, but Aitken later clarified to say the officers assisted Gareau.
Gareau says he doesn’t think he’s a hero and doesn’t want any praise, “I would just hope someone would do that for me.”
Gareau says he’d love to meet the man and make sure he’s ok.
The driver is expected to make a full recovery but is in hospital for treatment of his medical condition, police said. Gareau and the police officer weren’t injured.
Damage to the condominium and vehicle is estimated at $95,000.