Edmonton police, civilians awarded for heroic attempt to save woman from burning vehicle – Edmonton

An Edmonton police officer and five citizens were recognized for their bravery Wednesday at an awards night hosted by the Edmonton Police Service.

In all, two ceremonies were held by the EPS. The first recognized police officers with 20 and 30 years on the job, while the second acknowledged citizens who have put themselves at risk to stop a crime or save a life.

On the evening of Oct. 24 2016,  Ryan Brewster, Bradley Chalmers, Benjamin Sacks, Neal Seifeddine and John Wajaras were near 97th Street and 160th Avenue when a Nissan Xterra SUV was rear-ended by an Infiniti G37 sedan.

“A big explosion. A big fire. Something you didn’t think was going to happen, happened,” Brewster said. “First thing I did was react and just said I’ve got to help.”

Ryan Brewster was recognized by the Edmonton Police Service as one of five people who tried to rescue a woman from a burning vehicle in October. (Travis McEwan/CBC)

He and the others ran towards the burning SUV to try to get the driver, Joanne Christou, away from the flames.

That’s when Const. Sasa Novakovic arrived at the scene of the fire, before any emergency call had gone out.

“I was expecting a full Hollywood explosion,” Novakovic said. “I went to speak with them and tell them to get away from the fire. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized why they were reaching into this vehicle because they were trying to help this woman who was trapped.”

He said he had to drag one man away from the fire for his own safety.

Sasa Novakovic commends the five civilians who attempted to save a woman from a burning vehicle on Oct. 24 near 97th Street and 160th Avenue. (Travis McEwan/CBC)

Christou died in the fire.

Edmonton police charged a 20-year-old man with impaired driving causing death in relation to the accident. He was also charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death and refusal to provide a blood sample.

Novakovic received the commendation for bravery in front of his…

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