by Don Murdock
In December 1986, Canadian singer/songwriter Don Murdock received Canada’s Medal of Bravery from Canada’s Governor General Jeanne Sauve for actions during two house fires including the one this song is about.
For years, Don rode the rescue truck with the fire department and during that time witnessed many terrible and tragic things, but none affected him as much as the events of the fire that occurred in March 1985. His song, Don’t Call Me A Hero, has not only helped Don come to terms with emotions that have haunted him since that night almost 28 years ago, but also honours the memory while making good on a silent promise he made to a little girl who became an angel that night.
The call came shortly after midnight. When Don and the rescue crew override, flames and smoke were already billowing from the building. A young female at the scene yelled out that there were babies still inside. Don and fellow firefighter entered the home in search of the children. Because the heat was so intense and the smoke thick and black, the two were unable to see a thing and had to feel their way through the house on hands and knees. Through the confusion Don hurt his partner yell that he had found one. As Don turned toward the sound of his partner’s voice a flashover occurred knocking them both to the floor. Don was now able to see the girl. He grabbed the child and took her to the front door where he handed her to EMS personnel. Don then reentered the house, found his partner and guided him and the baby to the front door. Don then took the baby from his injured partner, jumped in the back of the ambulance where he performed infant CPR all the way to the hospital. Upon arrival, Don handed the baby over to the attending emergency physician, quite certain the baby was already an angel. The crew was later advised the baby did not recover.
The heat of the fire that night was so intense that Don’s helmet melted. Don also had flash burns to his face. His partner suffered burns to both of his hands.
A year prior to this incident Don also save the life of a teenage boy. Because that rescue happened in the early morning of New Year’s Day, there was a tremendous amount of press proclaiming Don on Hero. To Don though, the real hero has always been the innocent child who lost her life and that fire.
Like most first responders, whether they be firefighters, police, paramedics, military personnel, Don never felt right about being called a hero.
Contact Don Murdock
c/o Cafe Music Group
443 Moira St. West Belleville, ON K8N 4Z2 Canada