One man’s bravery in the face of fire engulfing homes in his neighbourhood is being singled out by Lloydminster city council.
Mayor Gerald Aalbers on Monday presented a citation to Travis Levitsky for putting himself out there to save his neighbours whose homes were on fire in the early hours of Oct. 30.
Levitsky says he was in his backyard relaxing in the tub when he saw the orange glow in the neighbourhood and realized that something was amiss.
“I looked over and I could see over my neighbour’s house there was about 40 to 45 feet of flames that was over my neighbour’s house.”
With urgency he ran inside, put on a bunnyhug over his wet shorts and sandals on his feet and went to pitch in. About five houses from his, there were three homes affected by the flames. He managed to awake the occupants in two of the homes, but in the third home the residents were sleeping soundly.
“After I went to the other side and there was a house with all its lights off – it didn’t look like anybody was there. And that house was on fire too. And I had to kick that door in. The smoke was so bad – bellowing. I put my bunnyhug up and I fell backwards because I couldn’t breathe.”
Levitsky relates that the families were all asleep and did not realize that their homes were on fire until he raised the alarm. He says he did not know the people as they lived down the street, but with adrenaline kicking in he felt compelled to act.
“If it’s between life and death – all I thought about was what if that was my family in there, or my kids or my friends. I didn’t really think about who or when or how strong you gotta be. If these people don’t wake up, they are going to die.”
He says the need to help his neighbours overrode concern for his personal safety.
Mayor Gerald Aalbers in reading the citation from the city noted, “Mr. Levitsky’s actions assuredly saved the occupants from grave injuries and potential death. His exceptional bravery, without thought for his personal safety, is in keeping with the highest traditions and values of the residents of the City of Lloydminster.”
Levitsky has lived in the Border City since 2001 working in the oil sector and enjoys sports, especially football.
Fire crews got the alarm that several homes in the 4600 block of 20 Street were on fire just around 4 o’clock the morning of Oct. 30.