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‘Remarkable and heroic’: Castlegar teen honoured for response to house fire

Liam Harder is credited with potentially saving two lives
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(L-R) Const. Scott Ross, Fire Chief Sam Lattanzio, Liam Harder and Mayor Maria McFaddin. Photo: City of Castlegar

A Castlegar teen has been recognized by the city and nominated for a fire commissioner’s commendation after his actions potentially saved two lives on Sept. 12.

Liam Harder was awakened in the early morning hours by a loud crashing sound outside his 5th Avenue home.

He got up, saw a small fire at the house across the street and another small fire near a vehicle parked at the residence.

Harder woke up his father and told him to call 911 before grabbing a fire extinguisher and rushing towards the fires.

He was able to extinguish them quickly.

“That evening, Liam’s actions undoubtedly reduced property damage to his neighbour’s home and potentially saved the lives of the father and young son who were sleeping inside,” said Castlegar Fire Chief Sam Lattanzio at a ceremony to recognize Harder’s actions during city council’s Oct. 23 meeting.

“Liam’s actions prevented a more serious outcome.”

Lattanzio has nominated Harder for a Certificate of Accommodation from the Fire Commissioner’s Office.

Castlegar RCMP Const. Scott Ross also praised Harder at the meeting.

“In my job I often see how small actions that appear to be inconsequential can lead to big things. Liam Harder’s actions on Sept. 12 of this year are no different.”

He also credited the teen for potentially saving a home and the lives inside.

“It all started from just getting up when he heard a sound and looking out a window,” added Ross.

“I personally thank Liam for his diligence and courage in responding to those fires. … His actions are remarkable and heroic. I also thank him for that small act of getting out of bed at night and looking out his window. … He did something most of us would just ignore and go back to sleep over.”

Mayor Maria McFaddin said, “It is members of the community like you who choose to look beyond themselves that create a place where people want to live.

“We are very thankful for your actions and they will become contagious — people will hear your story and they will be more inclined next time when they see something small to actually react and do something.”

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Betsy Kline

About the Author: Betsy Kline

After spending several years as a freelance writer for the Castlegar News, Betsy joined the editorial staff as a reporter in March of 2015. In 2020, she moved into the editor's position.
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