Manitoba

Woman pulled out of burning apartment lauds Winnipeg police officer as a hero

A Winnipeg woman who was pulled out of a burning house on Sunday by a police officer is crediting the man and a passerby who sprang into action with saving her life.

Officer dismisses notion he’s a hero, praises passerby’s quick actions

Kelsey Marcalene Moar almost didn't make it out of her apartment on Sunday alive. She credits the actions of a police officer and a passerby with saving her life. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

She has bruises on her body, a raspy voice from smoke inhalation and hasn't been able to sleep. But Kelsey Marcalene Moar is alive and credits the quick actions of a Winnipeg police officer with saving her life.

Marcalene Moar, 22, was sleeping on Sunday afternoon in the basement of her Transcona rental apartment when it became engulfed in flames.

But Marcalene Moar didn't realize the house was on fire and misheard her roommate's call upstairs to get outside. There was no smoke in the basement or any clue the building, which has five units, was on fire.

"I thought he said that there's a mouse in the house but he said, 'Get out of the house.' So I didn't think anything of it. So I just went back to bed. And then the second time I woke up, the power went out and for some reason, it still didn't click in my head."

Marcalene Moar fell back asleep.

This photo taken by a passerby shows the officer running up to the home as it is fully engulfed. (Submitted by Haleigh Perdonic)

"And then I heard a loud boom and apparently that's when the windows blew out. And so that's when I finally got up and I went upstairs to check what's going on. And then the fire alarm started going off."

When she went upstairs, it was pitch black.

"I couldn't see anything in front of me. So I used my arm to see if the door was closed cause the power was out and it was open and I automatically felt heat on my arm."

She said she tried to use the flashlight on her iPhone for light and tried to crawl to the front door about three metres away but it was too hot. She then ran downstairs and threw a wardrobe with clothes on the ground to help her reach a small window.

Perched atop the clothes pile, she was able to pop the window's screen but couldn't get herself out. The rest is a blur but she remembers seeing a Winnipeg police officer at the window with a woman.

"The lady behind him said, 'Get her out before it explodes again.' So I was panicking, thinking that it was going to engulf me in the flames."

This photo shows the inside of her home after the fire. (Submitted by Kelsey Marcalene Moar)

She tried to no avail climb out of the basement window but just couldn't get through.

"I was thinking like I wasn't going to be able to make it out because I kept getting stuck."

Making the situation even worse was having to leave her sleeping pooch behind.

"Just his face was really heartbreaking. It was just hard to leave him behind," she said, fighting back tears.

Then the officer and a passerby who stopped made the decision to yank her out of the window.

Marcalene Moar recounts the police officer's bravery:

Kelsey Marcalene Moar describes the actions of the police officer who pulled her to safety from a house fire. 0:29

'He should be seen as a hero'

"I think he was very brave and he should be seen as a hero because of how fast he got to me," said Marcalene Moar, who until Wednesday was unaware a passerby had also helped pull her out of the window.

Kelsey Marcalene Moar took this selfie after she was finished getting oxygen in an ambulance after the fire. (Submitted by Kelsey Marcalene Moar)

She now wants to meet the two men and gets emotional when looking at a photo a passerby captured of the officer running up to the burning structure.

"It's just crazy to think that I was in there with all those flames coming out."

The cop, who's been with the force for just under 11 years, told CBC News he was simply doing his job and said the real praise should go to the man who stopped his truck and helped pull Marcalene Moar out of the home.

The officer said he was on community patrol when he drove by and noticed a large plume of black smoke. When he got out of his car, Marcalene Moar's roommate told him a woman was still inside.

Marcalene Moar wants the officer to get some recognition for his actions and said she already knows what she will tell the officer if she gets the chance to meet him.

"Thank you. I don't think I could have made it out without you."

Cat dies in fire, belongings destroyed 

Marcalene Moar's roommate's cat died in the fire.

All of her belongings were destroyed in the fire and she didn't have renter's insurance. Her landlord has set up an online fundraiser to help her get back on her feet.

She's staying temporarily at her sister's place and is giving away her dog because she's been unable to find an apartment that's large-dog-friendly.

She hopes renters reading her story will make sure they buy insurance and hopes it serves as a good reminder to all to have a fire escape plan.

"Think of multiple ways that you could get out. Make sure you have a ladder if you're downstairs."

About the Author

​Austin Grabish started reporting when he was young, landing his first byline when he was just 18. He joined CBC in 2016 after freelancing for several outlets. ​​In 2018, he was part of a team of CBC journalists who won the Ron Laidlaw Award for the corporation's extensive digital coverage on asylum seekers crossing into Canada. Email: austin.grabish@cbc.ca

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.