Volunteer firefighter hailed for roadside rescue

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OS Charleyne Oulton

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

A Royal Canadian Navy sailor is expressing her heartfelt gratitude to a volunteer firefighter who aided her after a slip-and-fall accident in Sooke on Aug. 14. 

OS Charleyne Oulton was heading home with her fiancée PO2 Jonathan McGregor and eight-year-old Jack Russell Terrier Frayzer when the dog’s leash got caught on a roadside fence. It caused her to lose her footing on the gravel surface and fall.  

Driving by was Ben Patterson, Otter Point Volunteer Fire Department Captain Training Officer in his duty truck. 

“Fortunately for me he was in the right place at the right time and promptly sprang into action,” she said.  

She had sustained a sprained left ankle, strained ligaments, fractured tarsal, and a three centimetre laceration on her foot. Patterson grabbed his first aid kit, donned his Personal Protective Equipment, applied gauze to the wound to stop the bleeding, secured her foot, and kept her calm to mitigate shock. 

“As far as pain goes, on a level of one to 10, it was a 10, and I have delivered babies. Just complete blinding pain, it took all my focus just to breathe and remain calm,” said OS Oulton. 

Her fiancée took her to Victoria General Hospital. He had to remain in his vehicle in the parking lot due to COVID-19 procedures. After doctors bandaged her wound and thoroughly examined her, she was fitted with a walking cast and crutches. 

Immediately following the accident, she sent a letter of thanks to Patterson to express her gratitude for his timely and professional assistance.

Peterson says it was a pleasant surprise to receive OS Oulton’s letter.

“It’s very humbling to get a response of gratitude from a patient as that is not always the case,” he said. “We go to first response calls with BC Ambulance and many times never hear the final outcome or get any feedback from a patient. To get a letter of appreciation like this reminds me of why I joined the fire service 24 years ago: To help out and give back to my community.”

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