'Felt this tug in my heart': Stranger offers gift card to replace plane crash responder's fuel-soaked coat

Raymond Sanger's $375 coat still reeks of jet fuel a week after the Dec. 13 plane crash. Thanks to the kindness of a stranger, it will be replaced.

Raymond Sanger helped rescue people from last week's plane crash scene in Fond-du-Lac

Raymond Sanger was one of the first people on scene after the plane, carrying 25 people, crashed shortly after takeoff on Dec. 13. (CBC)

Jenn Ternoway chalks up finding out about plane crash responder Raymond Sanger to "divine intervention."

The 27-year-old Cranbrook, B.C., student was listening to CBC Radio in her dad's truck — he never usually listens to CBC, she says — when she heard Sanger's story. 

Sanger's coat was rendered unwearable after he helped rescue people from last week's plane crash scene in Fond-du-Lac, Sask.

"I just felt this tug in my heart that I had to reach out to this person and help him out," said Ternoway. 

"This poor guy. He had done this heroic thing."

Last weekend, Ternoway mailed Sanger a gift card worth $100 to help pay for a new coat. She and her mom split the cost.

"My grandparents are from Saskatchewan," she said. "So I know how cold those winters are."

Several responders, including Sanger, recalled the site being coated in jet fuel.​

The gift-giver: Jenn Ternoway of Cranbrook, B.C. (Jenn Ternoway)

"My coat is just soaked," Sanger said in the aftermath of the rescue effort.

No hot water to soak coat

Sanger took to Google for his coat problem and found advice about soaking the coat in hot water infused with Dawn dish soap. 

There was just one problem with that.

"I don't have hot water in my house," said Sanger. "I have to boil it."

Sanger hung up his coat indoors initially, but the strong jet fuel smell emanating from it prompted him to hang it outside. A week later, it still smells. (Raymond Sanger)

Coat still smells 'real bad'

A week after the crash, the coat — which Sanger said cost about $375 and was hung up outside his home — still reeked. His boots and snow pants had an odour, too. 

"It's still real bad," said Sanger on Wednesday.

Sanger said he's never had something like Ternoway's act of kindness happen to him.

"I was just amazed," he said of Ternoway.

Other people have also called him to make similar gestures. 

"Somebody does care out there," he said.


Guy Quenneville

Reporter at CBC Ottawa, originally from Cornwall, Ont.

Story tips? Email me at or DM me @gqinott on Twitter.