It's likely that Steven Enns didn't think he'd ever receive this much attention for doing his job. But then again it's not every day that you help four people escape a burning building.
The Estevan Police Service constable has been in the spotlight since May 18 when he helped three adults and a young child escape from their home on the 1200 block of Sixth Street. The story of the rescue, which was first reported in the May 23 Estevan Mercury, has received attention from throughout the province and on Friday he was singled out by popular radio host John Gormley as the hero of the week.
In an interview Monday, Enns said he appreciates the attention but humbly added that he feels "anyone in my position would have done the same thing.
"I definitely have seen a lot of attention and a lot of thanks from a lot of different people and everybody saying you're a hero and stuff like that," he said. "I was just in the right place at the right time."
Enns said he was attending to a noise complaint in the downtown core and while leaving the scene saw a cloud of smoke. He initially thought someone had lit a dumpster on fire but upon arriving at the scene, realized it was a house fire.
"I remember seeing the house from the back and it was just lit up in fire," he said. "I called for the fire department to be dispatched and I just started banging on the door. There was no answer right away so I was getting ready to go through the door."
Just as he was preparing to knock the door down, the female occupant of the home opened the door to see what was going on. She explained to Enns that there were three other people in the house, her boyfriend as well as their young son who was sleeping upstairs. A roommate was also upstairs.
"I remember running into the house not thinking about anything else other than let's get these guys out of here. I remember seeing smoke and fire going up the back kitchen wall, kind of like what you see in movies except now this was for real."
Although the room was filling up with smoke, Enns was able to locate the stairs, make his way to the second level and find the two-year-old sleeping in his bedroom. After picking the child up, Enns found the roommate, who was completely unaware of the fire, and told him to get out of the house. He then began to make his exit with the child in his arms.
"I remember looking down the stairs and (the room) was completely black with smoke. I needed a gasp of air so I went for one and I just remember my throat just instantly started to burn. But really I just kind of held my breath and closed my eyes; I knew where the door kind of was, so I just ran straight for it."
Enns said in the immediate aftermath of the incident he felt relief and was obviously happy everyone involved was safe and sound. However it wasn't until he went off shift that the gravity of the situation struck him.
"There was definitely relief, satisfaction knowing that what you're trained to do, you just do it. There was no thinking should I go or not, there was no hesitation, everything worked out," he said. "I don't remember even thinking about it. We sign up for it and we are trained to protect people.
"Then, when you're back at home and ready to go to bed, you start thinking wow, all this just happened. It's overwhelming then, I guess, but it makes a person feel good that you were there and did what you could and helped them out the best you can."
Among the people throwing their praise towards Enns is his boss, Chief Del Block. Like Enns, Block said he feels any EPS officer would have acted in the same manner but gave him full credit for stepping up when needed.
"We do the training and everyday we put our uniform on we are willing to give our lives up for the public. It just shows that Constable Enns went that far ... he did it and went that far."
Adding to the seriousness of the situation, Block said he spoke with officials from Estevan Fire and Rescue who told him because the fire was largely on the outside of the building, the smoke alarms did not go off.
"(The chief) said the building would have simply fell in on top of them and they would not have know any different," Block said. "It was very close and had Constable Enns not been there, it would have been a different story."
Block said he plans to nominate Enns for a Saskatchewan Chiefs of Police Association award and will also ask the board of police commissioners to recognize Enns.