An officer who pulled a child from a burning apartment was named Officer of the Year by the Toronto Region Board of Trade at the 49th annual celebration on May 31.
“There was thick black smoke everywhere. I couldn't see a thing,” said Constable Zoran Ivkovic, of having to crawl through the hallway of the Lakeshore apartment building in search of a boy trapped inside.
He managed to find the right apartment and pushed the unlocked door open. Ahead to his left, he saw flames getting higher and, to his right, a hall.
“I took a few steps inside and heard a low moan,” recalls Ivkovic. Using his flashlight, he turned to his right and saw a child slumped against the wall of the hallway. The child’s skin was burned but he was alive.
“I just grabbed him and pulled him close to me,” said the officer, who crawled his way out of the apartment but kept yelling in case there were survivors inside.
"Anyone else in the apartment, walk towards my voice."
On the other side, he heard some voices call back.
“They were saying ‘walk towards us.’” Ivkovic thought it must have been the firefighters on the balcony.
“Okay, the apartment must be clear,” thought Ivkovic, assured by the voices as he picked up the child and began crawling out.
“The kid wasn’t in good shape. He needed to get medical attention right away,” said the officer.
Ivkovic was honoured for putting his life in danger to carry the boy to safety and paramedics.
“It's a great honour. If I had my way, I would share this award with the men and women of the Toronto Police Service,” said Ivkovic, noting the other officers on the scene that day and the work done across the Service each day.