Barry Hornby, city bylaws officer, middle, is presented with an award for bravery by Jake Rudolph, Nanaimo chief administrative officer, left, and Mayor Leonard Krog at a city council meeting Monday. Hornby was recognized for his response after a fire broke out in a homeless encampment on Wesley Street earlier this month. (Photo courtesy City of Nanaimo)

Barry Hornby, city bylaws officer, middle, is presented with an award for bravery by Jake Rudolph, Nanaimo chief administrative officer, left, and Mayor Leonard Krog at a city council meeting Monday. Hornby was recognized for his response after a fire broke out in a homeless encampment on Wesley Street earlier this month. (Photo courtesy City of Nanaimo)

Nanaimo hero rushed into harm’s way as shelters burned and cannisters exploded

Barry Hornby recognized for actions in Dec. 3 fire at downtown homeless camp

Exploding propane tanks and fiercely burning shelters didn’t deter a Vancouver Island man from taking heroic action earlier this month, with lives potentially on the line.

Barry Hornby, a bylaw officer with the City of Nanaimo, was presented with an appreciation award of bravery for the role he played in getting people to safety when a fire broke out in a downtown homeless encampment destroying several tents and triggering explosions.

“(Hornby) rushed into the scene of the fiercely burning fire of tents and contents, with tanks exploding, and guided people in the immediate vicinity out of harm’s way,” Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog said. “This situation could have been catastrophic had it not been for his actions and others’ [actions]. This is courage at its finest. I need also to convey that this is not in his job description as a bylaws enforcement officer.”

Hornby was presented with the award at a meeting of city council Monday by Krog and Jake Rudolph, the city’s chief administration officer. Krog noted that this was an unusual presentation.

“I’m not sure if this is something that’s happened in the city’s history, potentially,” the mayor said.

Krog recounted the event, noting it was a large, intense fire that completely destroyed a number tents with explosions that shook nearby buildings, and said there were fortunately no injuries among the occupants of the encampment or city staff, firefighters and other emergency personnel who attended.

The mayor thanked Hornby for his “extraordinary and selfless act of courage” and commended him for a “remarkable act of bravery without regard for your personal safety.”

Krog also took a moment to comment on accounts circulated in social media and “different versions of events” surrounding the fire and its aftermath.

“Whatever else may come out of the story of the fire on Dec. 3, there is no question about the behaviour, the courage, demonstrated by Barry Hornby and others who attended that scene and did their best to make that situation much less of a disaster than it could have been and ensured the safety of many people,” Krog said.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

RELATED: City dismantling Wesley Street homeless encampment after fire

RELATED: ‘Disorder, conflict, violence, frequent overdoses’: Why Nanaimo tent city was dismantled



photos@nanaimobulletin.com
Like us on
Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Awards

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A suspect has been arrested in connection with fires at Drinkwater Elementary (pictured) and École Mount Prevost. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Arson suspect arrested after fires at Cowichan Valley schools

Drinkwater Elementary and Mount Prevost schools hit within a week

Danielle Groenendijk raised more than twice her goal for Parkinson’s Canada. (Photo submitted)
VIU volleyball athlete doubles fundraising goal for Parkinson’s

Daily runs over 30 days by Groenendijk add up to 254 kilometres

Seven streets in downtown Duncan, including Station Street, will soon have new native names added to their signage. (Submitted graphic)
New street signs in Duncan in English and Hul’q’umi’num

Seven streets to get additional native names on signs

Possible COVID-19 exposures may have occurred at Alexander Elementary School on Jan. 13, 14 and 15. (Google Maps)
Alexander Elementary in Duncan announces possible COVID-19 exposures

Exposures may have occurred on Jan. 13, 14 and 15

North Cowichan to add three more off-leash dog areas in the new year. (File photo)
North Cowichan adds three new off-leash areas

Trial program runs through 2021, but not the summer months

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Nanaimo RCMP are seeking the public’s help after a man allegedly assaulted a clerk at James General Store on Victoria Road on Jan. 18. (Submitted photo)
Suspect screams at customer then assaults store clerk in Nanaimo

RCMP asking for information about Jan. 18 incident at James General Store

Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
Two Nanaimo care-home residents have died during COVID-19 outbreak

Death reported Monday was the second related to Chartwell Malaspina outbreak, says Island Health

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Oyster River Fire Rescue members were called out to a suspicious fire in Black Creek. Two vehicles parked at a private residence were destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Rescue
Suspicious fire destroys two vehicles at Vancouver Island residence

Oyster River Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to a fire at a… Continue reading

Members of the BC RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit (EDU) is on route to Drummond Park opposite of Fulford Habour on Saltspring Island after the discovery of a suspicious cylindrical-shaped device. (Google/Screencap)
Bomb disposal unit en route to Salt Spring Island after suspicious device found in park

Police say a resident discovered the device Wednesday morning in Drummond Park opposite BC Ferries terminal

Most Read