Ask Saskatoon’s Evan Pyra and he’ll tell you he doesn’t deserve the recognition.
“I feel a little bit like everybody would try and do the same thing,” Pyra said.
That morning, the 26-year-old nurse was coming home after a night shift.
He realized he left his phone charger in his car and left his basement suite to go get it. When he turned around to head back inside, he saw smoke billowing out of the upstairs suite.
“I went to the front of the house and the door was open and my neighbour was standing there,” Pyra described.
Panicked and frozen, she told Pyra she needed to grab some of her belongings.
“I just told her it wasn’t worth it and I put my arm around her and redirected her out of the house,” he said.
“This was all of three minutes that this happened,” Pyra explained.
When emergency crews arrived, everyone was safely outside, but his neighbour needed immediate medical attention because of smoke inhalation.
“It was just kind of what needed to be done next,” Pyra said. “I kinda managed to stay calm through it all.”
Saskatoon fire Chief Morgan Hackl acknowledged it’s not easy to think clearly in an emergency situation.
“Because of his very calm and thoughtful actions – quickly – we believe he saved someone’s life,” Hackl said.
He added it’s important to recognize people when they can but to balance safety and heroics.
“We want people to think rationally and not go beyond where people should be without the proper protection,” Hackl said.
As for Pyra, he’s in the process of moving into a new home, but it’s a day he won’t soon forget.
“I was just happy that everything kind of turned out when it did,” Pyra said.
“If my neighbour didn’t answer the door the whole house would have gone up, but the fire department was there so quickly and the medics and everything else.”