Students of View Royal elementary school gave thanks at the View Royal fire hall to all the emergency personnel who saved the life of their classmate Katrina Van Winkle

Students thank View Royal FD for saving classmate’s life

View Royal elementary students marched to the View Royal fire hall to thank the firefighters for saving Katrina Van Winkle's life.



On her first day back to class, View Royal elementary student Katrina Van Winkle and hundreds of her classmates marched to the View Royal fire hall to thank the firefighters that saved her life.

The shy nine-year old stood holding a letter she wrote thanking the firefighters, especially fire Chief Paul Hurst for risking his life to save hers.

Hurst pulled Van Winkle from the fire on March 14. He found her on the floor unconscious and not breathing.

“Katrina gave it her best to get out,” said Hurst. “We made sure she got out.”

Emotions ran high on the sunny afternoon between firefighters, teachers and parents all with the knowledge that this story could have had a tragic end.

The Grade 3 student was airlifted to B.C. Children’s Hospital she was discharged from hospital March 16. Her first day back to school was March 27.

“I couldn’t keep her home,” said her great grandmother Sue Utendale, who was also in the home the morning of the fire. “There has been such an out pouring of support from so many people in the community. One day we hope to thank them all individually.”

The family has moved into a townhouse in View Royal.

Katrina and her classmates yelled a big “thank you” to the firefighters, sang a song about View Royal and they left dozens of signs and banners students created to thank the department and other emergency services that assisted at the fire.

“This is great the entire school is supporting this student and for them all coming to the fire department it’s pretty noble,” said Hurst.  “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

A total of 34 firefighters from View Royal and Colwood fire departments attended the fire.

Katrina was home with her grandmother and great grandmother when the early morning fire started. All three were rescued.

“Without working smoke alarms this certainly could have been fatal,” said Hurst emphasizing the family had smoke alarms on all levels of the home. “It was the smoke alarms that got them out of bed.”

Investigators found that the fire began in the basement where combustibles were stored too close to a baseboard heater in the laundry room.

Hurst would like to urge families to ensure  they have working smoke alarms and practise fire drills and escape routes on a regular basis so there are more happy endings.

charla@goldstreamgazette.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich roads doused in more than 300 tonnes of salt during snowstorm

Crews cleared roads around the clock during the mid-January storm

Three Saanich councillors ask for $2-M investment into District road safety

‘I don’t want roads to be safer in 30 years, I want them safer now,’ says Coun. Ned Taylor

Hydro pole fire closes portion of Metchosin Road in Colwood

Motorists are advised to avoid the area of Metchosin Road near Royal Bay

BC Ferries hybrid ships arrive in Victoria on Saturday

The battery-operated vessels will take over smaller routes

‘We thought it was an earthquake,’ homeowners okay after tree falls

Mature tree falls on roof of Victoria Avenue house

VIDEO: The Victoria byelection leads a selection of today’s news stories

A selection of Greater Victoria top stories for Jan. 17

Theft victim confronts suspects with baseball bat on Vancouver Island

RCMP in Nanaimo seek to identify of two people alleged to have used a stolen credit card

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

Clerk bruised, traumatized after armed robbery at Nanaimo liquor store

Few details on male suspect in Wednesday incident, says Nanaimo RCMP

One last blast of winter tonight for parts of the Island before temperatures on the rise

A snowfall warning is in effect Friday including east Vancouver Island.

POLL: Has the recent snow had an impact on your daily life?

Old Man Winter had Greater Victoria in his icy grip this week.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 14

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

‘Scariest boat ride of my life’: Passengers trapped by ice on rocky B.C. ferry sailing

The Nimpkish docked in Bella Coola on Jan.12 coated in a thick layer of ice

Most Read