A group of construction workers were in the right place at the right time when a downtown apartment became engulfed in smoke with a man and his dog inside.
Police and fire services responded to a call for a fire above a Pizza Pizza restaurant around 3:15 p.m. in the Church and Wellesley streets area.
Before emergency services arrived on scene, a group of construction workers who were removing signs from a building across the street heard a man in distress and sprung into action.
“We saw a gush of smoke and a gentleman was at his window yelling “help, help'” says William Reyes. He added that the man was covered in black soot and had been sleeping when the fire broke out.
Reyes, along with his crew of four other workers, climbed up onto a landing outside the window along with their ladders. They used hammers to break the window and helped the man climb out by pulling his legs and directing him onto the ladders set up below the window.
“You can do it buddy,” one of the workers can be heard saying, as the trapped man attempts to step onto the ladder. Cheers erupted from onlookers once he was safely out of the apartment.
Paramedics arrived soon after and the man was taken to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.
The man’s dog was also rescued a short time later by his brother who ran into the apartment and emerged with a white dog covered in soot.
The elated construction workers say they felt good about helping someone in a dangerous situation.
“You have to go to help people. You can’t just take your phone and see whats happening … you feel good when you save someone’s life,” said one of Reyes’ crew.
Reyes’ brother Ed says it was sheer fate that they happened to be in the area.
“God sent us here for a reason today. We weren’t supposed to work here today — we were supposed to work by the airport. So there you go,” he said.