Maine Local S6 Member Helps Neighbors, Pets Evacuate Burning Home

IAM Local S6 member Zac Couillard took quick action when he was getting in his truck to leave for work early one recent morning and saw a large fire burning at his neighbor’s property. Their detached garage had gone up in flames.

Although other neighbors were watching the fire, no one knew if people were inside the house adjacent to the burning garage and at risk of catching fire as well. Couillard acted fast–he had his girlfriend call 911 while he entered the home to help his neighbors.

“If it was my house, I would expect somebody to stop and do the same thing,” said Couillard.

Couillard helped an older woman and her daughter out of the house as two cars in the garage exploded. He also collected three of the neighbor’s five cats and brought them to safety.

The neighbors he helped to evacuate were just waking up and didn’t know their garage was burning down.

Fortunately the main house never caught fire because the fire department arrived in time, and no human or animal was harmed.

Since his heroic act, Couillard decided to join the Richmond Volunteer Fire Department. 

“I like helping people, so I thought volunteering with the fire department would be a good thing to do,” said Couillard, who went to college for fire science before becoming an IAM member.

Couillard, 23, works at the Bath Iron Works shipyard in Maine as a Maintenance Electrician. He’s been in the union for four years.

“Zac courageously stepped up for the good of our community. His selfless actions prove the strength of his character,” said IAM Local S6 President Chris Williams. “We applaud him and thank him for this kind deed.”

“Thankfully no one was hurt in the fire,” said IAM District 4 Directing Business Representative Jay Wadleigh. “I wasn’t surprised at all though to hear that a Local S6 member had reacted appropriately and helped, and I’m very thankful to Zac for his bravery and compassion, literally herding cats out of danger.”

“Members of our union do incredible things for their communities and make me proud to be a Machinist every day,” said IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President David Sullivan. “This is another extraordinary example of a Machinist doing the right thing. I’m very proud to call Zac our union brother.”

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