It was a beautiful August day and Doug Maya had just finished playing soccer with his girlfriend’s daughter, Jayna.
As they drove down Roche Harbor Road in Friday Harbor, Maya noticed smoking coming out of an RV in a mobile home park.
“At first it looked like someone was cooking or burning something,” he said. “But then I smelled it – and I know the smell of structure fire well.”
As a San Juan County Sheriff’s Deputy on Orcas and a volunteer firefighter, Maya immediately went into action. He looked inside and could see a pair of legs on the floor through the smoke. After yelling for the person to wake up, Maya went inside and pulled him out.
After regaining consciousness, the young man asked him to help his friend. Maya went back inside the RV, which was now fully engulfed in smoke, and assisted another man out. He then called 911.
“I felt a little naked because I didn’t have any gear, but it was a small space with easy access – if things went sideways I could have gotten out,” Maya said.
San Juan Island firefighters arrived at the scene shortly after, at about 3:20 p.m., and pulled a smoldering mattress and other simmering household items out of the RV, extinguishing the lot before any of it burst into flames.
“There was quite a bit of toxic smoke coming off that mattress,” San Juan Island Fire Department Assistant Chief Brad Creesy said. The two occupants were transported to Peace Island Hospital, evaluated and released.
“Afterwards, I got back in the truck and Jayna’s eyes were huge,” Maya said. “I said, ‘ok, let’s go!’ You just don’t really think about it.”