As It Happens

Medal of Bravery for effort to save man from burning car

It's not every person's instinct to run toward a burning vehicle. But that's what Jack Tyler did when he came upon a car accident on a slushy highway near Kitimat, BC in 2012. Mr. Tyler is being honoured with a Medal of Bravery from the Governor General for his efforts in saving Bobby Weir.
The car from which Bobby Weir was rescued, engulfed in flames near Kitimat, BC, December 5, 2012. (Bobby Weir/Facebook)

Jack Tyler is proudly wearing the Medal of Bravery on his chest. He received the honour from the Governor General at a ceremony in Ottawa Friday. His son, Jake Tyler, and colleague, Dale Hession, were also awarded medals. The three were recognized for their efforts in saving Bobby Weir from a burning car along the highway near Kitimat, BC in December of 2012.

It was dark, the roads were snowy, when traffic came to a halt. And that’s when Jack Tyler noticed a flicker of light on the road ahead and saw that a car was on fire.

“I yelled to my son and Dale ‘somebody’s in that car’! And we ran to the vehicle. I ended up on the passenger side.The car was totally demolished and the passenger’s door was completely gone. And I started looking inside the car and at this time the interior is now catching on fire. So I’m searching and searching and all of a sudden I find Bobby - he’s stuck underneath the dash the below the seats,” explains Tyler.

While Tyler was searching for Weir, his son, Jack, was throwing snow on the car to douse the flames. At the same time, Hession was trying to cut Weir from his seatbelt so that he could be freed. By this time, the flames were very intense and the interior of the car was melting.

“This sense came to me that it’s now or never. This car is going to blow up. We either get him out or it’s going to be too late. So I grabbed him with everything I had,” says Tyler.

Hession had cut the seatbelt, and with a big yank Tyler was able to pull Weir out of the car and onto the road. Seconds later, the car exploded.

“And I mean blew up. It was completely engulfed in flames, now the tires are blowing, so we kept moving Bobby down the road a little farther. Now I had to roll him in snow because he was still on fire. And once I did that I could see that he was in really bad shape.”

But that wasn’t Tyler’s only rescue of the night. He saw the other vehicle involved in the crash lying in a ravine, so he pried open the car door and helped the driver out of that vehicle too.

After the rescue, the Tylers and Hession returned to Kitimat and went to a bar where Hession’s girlfriend worked. It was there they learned that Weir’s father had died three months earlier. Knowing that Weir had a long road to recovery ahead of him, the men took up a collection at their worksite and raised more than $5,000 for Weir’s medical expenses.

Weir suffered severe burns and leg and facial fractures and spent time recovering at Vancouver General Hospital. Tyler says he spoke with Weir on Wednesday night. “Bobby’s doing quite well. He was quite happy for us and hopes that one day he’ll get to meet me.”