For the past thirty-one years Lother Dueck was known as the local pharmacist – now he can add “hero” to his list of achievements.
By Marianne Curtis
Most people from Vita know Lother Dueck as the local pharmacist but now he is being called a hero after his actions during early October wildfires.
On October 2, Dueck was working in his store Dueck Drugs when he looked out the window and saw smoke across the field. Realizing it was coming from the direction of a customer’s home, he left the store and went to investigate. By the time he arrived, the roof of the house was on fire and a barn on the yard was already destroyed.
The owner, Sandra Andreson was inside baking and oblivious of the obvious danger she was in. He and Andreson drove away from the site through a wall of smoke while flames consumed the home behind them.
Andreson’s son Chris credits Dueck for saving his mother’s life.
“He drove through the flames blocking my parents driveway, picked up my mo and drove out through heavier flames, charring his truck,” said Andreson to media. “If it wasn’t for Lother my mom would have been a casualty of the fire.”
Even Provencher MP Vic Toews extended his own thoughts on Dueck’s heroism.
“I want to congratulate Lothar Dueck of Vita. Mr. Dueck courageously drove through the flames to rescue a woman who was unable to escape her home. This act likely prevented a tragedy from taking place,” stated Toews.
Toews says there were many acts of bravery throughout the area as emergency personnel who responded to the fires across south eastern Manitoba. Their professionalism helped ensure that this situation did not evolve into a catastrophe,” praised Toews. “I would also like to commend local residents – many of whom demonstrated acts of selflessness to prevent the loss of life and further loss of property.”
Before fires were contained, four homes, several farm buildings and a provincial highway bridge in Vita fell victim to the wild fires.
RM of Stuartburn reeve Jim Swidersky was exhausted when the Dawson Trail Dispatch caught up with him during a week that saw massive fire destruction, evacuations and then a snow storm complete with power outages.
“Its precipitation so we will take it – anything needed to cool things down a bit,” stated Swidersky. “It is very unfortunate that we lost several homes this time but we are grateful that no one got hurt. The community banned together to help in any way they could.”
Swidersky says the municipality plans to continue putting pressure of the province to establish a disaster assistance program to help residents with recovery from both the fires and loss of power due to widespread outages. The municipality made an official request to the province the previous month in an attempt to recoup losses from the April wildfires.