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Two Sault men recognized for act of heroism

Scott Beaumont and Brian Armstrong were congratulated by Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha for their remarkable efforts in extinguishing a structural fire that threatened the safety of the mainland in McGregor Bay
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Sault residents Scott Beaumont (right) and Brian Armstrong (middle) were recognized by Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha (left) for their heroic efforts in extinguishing a cabin fire that likely prevented a forest fire from spreading on the mainland in McGregor Bay.

“We’re humbled for being acknowledged, and proud that we were able to make a difference,” says Scott Beaumont, an engineer from the Sault who, alongside two others, spent nearly eight hours dousing the flames of a cabin fire just off the mainland in McGregor Bay back in June.

Around 11:30 p.m. on a late-June evening, Beaumont was spending time at his McGregor Bay camp with his friend Brian Armstrong, a contractor who’s also from the Sault, when they witnessed flickering in the distance across the water.

A man who has a cottage right across from Beaumont’s noticed it as well and responded with a fire pump. The man then texted Beaumont to bring a fire pump and come help.

In the pitch dark, the pair of Saultites took a boat and crossed open water while battling four-foot waves before arriving to the island that was impacted.

They immediately realized that a cabin was engulfed in flames.

“We didn’t really know what we were getting into,” Beaumont recounts.

They tried contacting emergency services for assistance, as well as others residents living in the area, but to no avail.

Beaumont and Armstrong located water pumping equipment and assembled it themselves, eventually drawing water from the lake and dousing the flames with the little resources they had while up against high winds.

While the structure was burning, embers from the fire were blowing across the water towards the mainland and Killarney Provincial Park – threatening hundreds of residents and countless acres of forestry.

The trio got to work quickly on containing that situation, and they managed to put out the mainland fire before it got out of hand, ultimately preventing a forest fire from spreading throughout the park.

The crew then went back to the island to continue fighting the cabin fire. By 4 a.m., they were confident it was contained. Shortly after 6 a.m., it was extinguished completely.

“It was a crazy event, and something I’ll never forget,” Beaumont says. “If the fire had been left unchecked, then the flames could have spread throughout the whole area. We got there just at the right time.”

Last week, Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha recognized them for their heroic efforts in successfully containing the situation despite their limited resources.

In a letter directed to them, he states:

“Your selfless quick actions and resourcefulness resulted in saving countless lives, resources, and extensive damage to the environment. As MPP, on behalf of the people of Algoma-Manitoulin, I am honoured to congratulate you on your almost superhuman resourcefulness, strength, and determination. Truly your actions serve as an outstanding role model for all of us.”

Beaumont explains the three of them didn’t put out the fire for recognition, but he’s incredibly appreciative of Mantha’s gesture.

“It was really nice of Michael Mantha to reach out to us,” Beaumont says. “Our kids got to be there for the presentation, so it was nice. Being able to make a difference was a pretty humbling experience and being recognized by everyone for what we did was welcomed and appreciated. We did what we felt we had to do at the time.”

While Armstrong and Beaumont’s neighbour were unavailable for comment, the engineer credits their assistance for helping prevent a potentially catastrophic situation.

“This story is as much about them as it is about me,” he says. “I want to highlight how competent and resourceful Brian was in the moment. He was a force, and we couldn’t have done it without him. Neither of them hesitated to do what had to be done.”

Beaumont says he wants to use this incident to promote change in the McGregor Bay area and help prevent another scare like this one from happening again.

“I’m initiating some discussions in getting a volunteer fire department or a fire boat organized, because there’s too many close calls out there,” he says. “It’s a popular area, there’s a lot of boating, and a lot of different stakeholders are out there.”

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Alex Flood

About the Author: Alex Flood

Alex is a recent graduate from the College of Sports Media where he discovered his passion for reporting and broadcasting
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