December 31, 2012
Man saves kids from motel fire
By Cheryl Browne, QMI Agency
BARRIE, Ont. -- A Barrie man ran into the burning White Towers Motel three times Sunday night to save two small children and other guests from the fire that ripped through the motel's eastern building.
"I just did what I hope somebody else would do for my children," said Dennis Soules, standing outside the motel Monday.
"I wasn't thinking about what I was doing. I was just trying to help."
The large gaping black hole where the window for the second floor room 21 used to be, shows a blackened shell where the fire started.
According to Barrie Fire and Emergency Services, they received the call about the fire around 8:50 p.m.
By that time, Soules was on his way back into the burning building for a second time.
Soules, who is two weeks away from graduating as an addictions counsellor from Everest College, said he was visiting the hotel in an attempt to find a friend whom he believed was in dire straights.
As a father of three children under the age of 10, Soules said when he heard a child scream in the unit above him he jumped.
When he got upstairs to room 21, he saw two small boys, aged two and four, sitting near the door where the father had placed them, as he attempted to extinguish a mattress with cups of water.
Fire services reported the father had been looking for the baby's bottle under the bed using his cigarette lighter to illuminate the underside of the box-spring when it caught on fire.
Soules said he scooped up the boys and brought them down the hallway away from the fire, and grabbed a fire-extinguisher to help the father put out the burning mattress.
He said the fire extinguisher didn't have a pin in it, so he ran to the hotel office, told the owner to call 911 and grabbed another fire-extinguisher to fight the fire.
When he got back upstairs, it too, didn't work.
"By this time, it was really smoking, so I wrapped the two kids up in my coat and ran to my car with them," he said, showing how he wrapped his two bear-sized arms wrapped around two little bodies.
"I put them in the car, backed it up to the other side of the parking lot and got my uncle to sit in the car with them."
By now, it was getting darker and smokier and Soules admitted he was coughing with each breath.
The Canadian Red Cross arrived at the fire and brought the two young boys home to their mother.
Soules then drove to a nearby department store and bought the father clothes, as he'd been evacuated while still in his underwear.