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Protecteur crew members honoured for actions during fire at sea

Crew members aboard HMCS Protecteur were recognized Wednesday for their bravery during an engine room fire in 2014.
HMCS Protecteur was heavily damaged in a fire at sea in 2014.

Crew members aboard HMCS Protecteur were recognized Wednesday for their bravery during an engine room fire in 2014.

Nine crew members were presented with medals for bravery or meritorious service by Governor General David Johnston at a ceremony in Quebec City.

The warship was en route to Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt from Hawaii when fire tore through the engine room on Feb. 27, 2014. About 20 people suffered minor injuries. The vessel was decommissioned in 2015.

The crew members and their actions, as described in their citations:

Medal of Bravery

• Petty Officer 2nd Class André Aubry was in the engine room when the explosion occurred. He emptied several extinguishers onto the flames as they spread, but was forced to retreat. His actions allowed his fellow crew members to escape the room.

Meritorious Service Decorations

• Cmdr. Julian Elbourne, the commanding officer, demonstrated leadership and “outstanding actions were instrumental in minimizing injuries and protecting the lives of the 300 crew, and in saving the ship from sinking.”

• Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Ian Kelly is credited for leading the effort to identify and locate missing crew during the chaos.

• Lt.-Cmdr. Jeffrey Murray showed professionalism in the aftermath of the fire and kept the crew focused on preparing the ship for towing and allowing the ship to arrive safely in Pearl Harbor with no casualties.

• Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Penner used his technical acumen to make quick decisions in a smoke-filled compartment to prevent catastrophic explosions and serious injury or death.

• Leading Seaman Andrew Astles was the attack team leader and played a critical role in successfully extinguishing the fire.

• Capt. Michael Gibbons, who provided pastoral support to the ship, maintained order and motivated the crew to fight the fire.

• Leading Seaman Curtis Korolyk entered the intense heat and flames of the fire zone five times, volunteered for the hazardous duty of locking the propeller shaft, and acted as on-scene commander in the boiler room.

• Petty Officer 1st Class Peter Storie was able to restore temporary electrical power to the ship, returning to the fire zone to retrieve parts.