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Kamloops man who battled wildfire with his boat says thanks for the praise, but it was a team effort

Koyne Watson and his fiance Tasha Hunt are seen here with the 1987 Eliminator Scorpion jet boat that was used to help fight the fire.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/(Tasha Hunt)
July 31, 2017 - 8:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - British Columbians across the province have been finding ways to help in the battle against wildfires this summer, and over the weekend one Kamloops man found himself on the front lines of a fire on the shores of the Thompson River.

Thanks to some quick thinking, a high-powered boat, and the help of several other civilians, the blaze was kept under control until firefighting crews arrived on scene.

It all happened on Saturday afternoon as Koyne Watson, 43, and his fiance Tasha Hunt, 33, were hitting the water for the first boat excursion of the season. The leisurely afternoon on the water turned to something far more serious when the pair noticed smoke billowing from the shore near Shuswap Road.

Watson, who was driving his high-powered speed boat capable of blasting a jet stream of water from its motor, says when he realized the smoke was from a grass fire he figured it was worth a shot to use his boat as fireman's hose to douse the flames.

"I went along the bank trying to see how far and how big the bank was and when I looked up and it was fairly high, probably 20 or 30 feet," he says. "I told Tasha to hang on and thought maybe I could hit it if I kind of shoot around a log that was sticking out of the water."

"I went by for a shot and had a look at it... and asked Tasha how we did and she said we hit it so we just kept doing the loops around as I shot and she directed me."

Watson has been receiving praise on social media for his quick thinking and willingness to help fight the fire, but he insists he can't take all the credit as there were several people on shore helping fight the fire as well.

"The bank was so high that we couldn't see much but there were people up top and you could see them waving and cheering saying to keep it up," says Watson.

Kamloops Fire Rescue arrived on scene to take over for the civilians and had the fire extinguished before it could do damage to any structures. Chief Mike Adams says while he is impressed and thankful for what Watson did, he wants to put a warning out there to people who put themselves in harm's way to fight fires.

"That guy did some pretty interesting maneuvers to help our crews so kudos to him," he says. "But obviously approach these situations with caution and we want you to call 911 so our crews can do what they can to extinguish the fire."

Watson doesn't have any experience fighting fires but feels his safety training for his excavating company Cobra Heavy Iron helped prepare him. He says anybody in his position would have done the same thing.

Regardless of his humility, the pats on the back have continued on social media as people thank him for his bravery. Here are some of those posts:

And check out this video that shows Watson's attempt to battle the flames:


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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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