Main photo: Muskoka Paramedic Services Chief Jeff McWilliam (left) with Deputy Chief Stuart McKinnon (right), presents the Chief’s Commendation Award to paramedics Matt Hickey (second from left) and Lucas Leggett in 2019. (@MuskokaPS/Twitter)
Local paramedic Lucas Leggett has been recognized by the province for his role in a rescue that saved a woman and two children from a residential fire.
On October 25, 2019, he was among the first responders called to a house fire. At the scene, they found a woman holding two young children at the second story window of a house surrounded by thick smoke.
With all of the home’s windows and doors locked and no ladder immediately available, an OPP officer broke the front window and he and Leggett made their way through heavy smoke into the house. Together, they found the family and lowered the children down to two partners waiting outside of the house. The fire department arrived shortly after and assisted the mother, Leggett, and the police officer with the use of a ladder. As a result of everyone’s efforts that day, all of the home’s occupants, including the family pet, escaped the fire.
The Ontario Award for Paramedic Bravery is given to paramedics who performed individual acts of outstanding bravery in the face of danger. A recent provincial ceremony, held virtually, honoured Leggett and 12 other paramedics from across Ontario who had nominations submitted in 2019 and 2020.
Leggett says he’s honoured to have received the award, and in the humble fashion typical of first responders, he points to the team effort of both his partner and others who responded to the fire.
“It wasn’t only me there that day,” he told Doppler. “The rescue would not have been possible without my partner Matt Hickey, the two OPP officers, as well as the fire department—it was a great team effort with a great outcome.”
It’s a call that he’s sure he will remember for the rest of his life. “We as a group took a calculated risk in order to save an adult and two children from a situation that could have been fatal. I was very happy with the result of our actions.”
Leggett has been a paramedic for six years, four-and-a-half of those with Muskoka Paramedic Services. It’s a career “that allows me to help people in their time of need, and have a positive impact on the community—it’s very rewarding,” he said.
And he wants residents to know how great Muskoka’s paramedics are. “They work around the clock, everyday, ready to respond to your emergency. You may not hear about every call or emergency they respond to but they are out there making a difference in people’s lives. They are highly skilled and some of the kindest, caring individuals I know. I am proud to call them co-workers and friends.”
Muskoka Paramedic Services Chief Jeff McWilliam concurs. “I am constantly impressed with Muskoka Paramedics and the work they do daily. They continue to be strong patient advocates and are caring, compassionate individuals that conduct themselves with the utmost professionalism,” he said. “I am especially proud of Lucas for his brave and heroic actions. In the face of an incredible situation, Lucas went above and beyond in an effort to preserve the lives of this family.”
At the virtual ceremony, Premier Doug Ford said, “Paramedics are on the frontlines when it comes to protecting our communities and saving lives. Throughout the pandemic, we have seen paramedics performing incredible acts of service and generosity… From assisting with the vaccine rollout to alleviating hospital capacity by helping with home care, they have been here to support us every step of the way. On behalf of everyone in Ontario, I want to thank each of them for their service and congratulate this year’s winners of the Paramedic Bravery Awards. You are true heroes.”
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