Two Nelson House residents are being hailed as heroes after saving four children from a fiery death. The community of Nelson House is about 80 kilometres west of Thompson in Manitoba.
On Saturday, June 6, 2015, Chastity Spence (a pregnant mom) and 19-year-old Arnold Culley rushed to the aid of four children trapped inside a burning storage shed behind a neighbour’s home. Hearing the children’s cries for help, Spence and Culley tore into the shed to rescue them.
“I grabbed the wall, and I ripped it right off. I couldn’t believe that. I’m a tiny person and that wall was boarded on there pretty good with three other two by fours right over it,” said Spence in a CBC interview. “The flame came out and I backed away. I was going to run in there, and one of the little girls came running through the fire.”
The door to the abandoned shed had been nailed shut, but the kids found a small hole in the wall. “[Culley] went around the back and started prying the corner,” Spence said. “He got that open, that little boy fell out, and then two other little girls came running out, and then like two seconds after we got them out, that shack fell.”
The Office of the Fire Commissioner is investigating the fire. Two six-year-old girls, a five-year-old girl, and a three-year-old boy were injured in the blaze. The three girls were transported to a Winnipeg hospital for treatment of their burns, and one of the six-year-olds remains in serious condition. The boy was treated at the local nursing station and was released.
Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation Chief Marcel Moody said that one of the children may have started the fire with a lighter. “We’re real lucky that there were people who came to their rescue and saved them,” Chief Moody said. “They are the real heroes.”