FAIRHAVEN, Mass. (WPRI) — Two strangers credited with saving the life of a Fairhaven man who was trapped inside a burning building last year are receiving North America’s highest honor for civilian heroism.
Ernest Beauparland, 66, is a retired laborer from New Bedford, and Ronald Rock, 58, is a ferry boat captain in Fairhaven.
Both jumped into action the morning of Feb. 3, 2020, when they heard cries for help and saw flames shooting from Jackson’s Variety Store on the corner of Manhattan Avenue and Sconticut Neck Road.
Colin Jackson, who was 83 years old and used a wheelchair, was trapped inside on the second floor.
Beauparland and Rock rushed into the building, battling flames and smoke, and carried Jackson to safety.
Their actions have earned them Carnegie Medals, given throughout the U.S. and Canada each year to people who “enter extreme danger to save the lives of others,” according to the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission.
Colleen Jackson told 12 News at the time of the fire she was extremely grateful for those who helped save her family.
“Without those good Samaritans,” Colleen said, “my sister wasn’t leaving my father. They wouldn’t have gotten out of there.”
Beauparland and Rock also received special recognition for their actions from the Fairhaven Board of Selectmen in March of 2020.