A 62-year-old cab driver from Sydney Mines will be honoured this week for an act of bravery four years ago, when he single-handedly rescued a woman from a burning apartment.
Len MacIntyre, who owns, operates and dispatches cabs for Crown Taxi, will receive a decoration for bravery from Governor General David Johnston at a ceremony in Ottawa on Thursday.
Back in August 2009, MacIntyre was returning from an early airport run when he swung by the Tim Hortons in Florence. He picked up some coffees for his co-workers and spotted smoke coming from a multi-unit house on Park Road.
"I jumped out to run up to bang on the door underneath where the fire was and the window busted open above me," said MacIntyre. "I could hear a lady in there saying she had to get out."
He ran to the back of the building, up the stairs and opened the door. The kitchen was ablaze and the woman was on the other side.
MacIntyre grabbed a quilt that was hanging over the railing and went in.
"I held it up as a shield toward the fire and I was going sideways and it was hot on the fingers," he said. "It burned and that but I got enough and then I got by it."
He then wrapped the woman and himself in the quilt as they tried to escape.
"I swung it over the top of her and grabbed her with the other arm and we — the two of us — sort of shielded ourselves from the biggest flame to get back out through the door," said MacIntyre. "I was approximately about eight to 10 feet inside the fire. It was close."
MacIntyre then banged on doors and woke the other tenants. Neither the woman nor the other tenants he alerted were seriously hurt.
Emergency officials arrived and MacIntyre left. He went back to delivering the coffees to the taxi stand.
The young woman sought him out later and thanked him, but little else was said until he received a notice in September that he was being awarded the medal of bravery.
There are 38 other people from across Canada who will also receive bravery awards this week, including three firefighters from the Halifax area who rescued an RCMP officer who was swept into the waves at Peggys Cove.