Teen honoured at Manitoba legislature after saving kids from Tataskweyak apartment blaze

A 17-year-old girl was honoured at the Manitoba legislature after she helped residents escape a fire that tore through an apartment building in northern Manitoba last month.

“Shenika Chornoby, while still humble, is a hero,” Thompson MLA Eric Redhead said during Thursday’s legislative session. “Her selfless act of courage should be seen as an inspiration to others.”

On the afternoon of Feb. 11, Chornoby was walking to work in her home community of Tataskweyak Cree Nation, which is 700 km north of Winnipeg.

She had a bad feeling and stopped to look around near a road, noticing smoke and two people nearby that were screaming.

“Without hesitation, this young hero sprang into action. Entering the apartment, Shenika’s quick thinking was able to save the lives of two youths from that fire,” said Redhead.

A framed statement and a medal is pictured being held in a girl's hands.
Chornoby received a medal and Redhead’s framed statement, which honoured her during the legislative session. (Randall McKenzie/CBC)

A firefighter then showed up along with several others, entering the apartment with Chornoby to help the remaining tenants out.

The teen, who suffers from asthma, collapsed from smoke inhalation after escaping the blaze. She required CPR from a bystander, which dislocated her shoulder and damaged her ribs.

Chornoby and a two-year-old boy were airlifted to Winnipeg’s Children’s Hospital, where she woke up three days later.

‘Overnight hero’

Redhead said the teen realized she had become an “overnight hero” when she woke up.

“It is not about fame or recognition, but putting others’ needs before your own,” he said.

“Thanks to her actions, all of the residents from the building were able to escape the inferno.”

Chornoby received a standing ovation from all members of the assembly.

Following the session, the teen received a medal as well as a framed copy of Redhead’s statement.

She told the media she’s recovering well and has been enjoying herself in Winnipeg.

Chornoby previously told CBC she would like to train to become a firefighter.

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