Old Massett man injured trying to stop attack at gas bar

  • Sep. 8, 2008 6:00 p.m.

An Old Massett man who tried to intervene in a terrifying incident at the Kithlaigaa gas bar was attacked and badly injured Saturday afternoon (Sept. 6). Gas station owner Molly York said Noel White should receive an award for bravery after he wrestled with a man who was threatening to blow up the gas station by flicking a lighter at the end of a gas hose. Mrs. York said she was told that Mr. White first tried to talk the man out of lighting the gas pump on fire, then intervened physically because the man wouldn’t listen. But the attacker grabbed a rock and smashed it on Mr. White’s head. The attacker “could have wiped out the population of Old Massett,” Mrs. York said. “Noel White is the hero that saved the town, who saved people’s lives.” Mr. White was medevacced to hospital in Vancouver. His sister Rose Brown said he was released from hospital on Monday but is not in good shape and will have to return for further treatment. “He just did what he had to, he saw that people were traumatized,” she said. “It’s just something he came upon and he did what he could.” RCMP Const. Mark Shaw said two police officers responded immediately and took the suspect, Quinten Baker, into custody. Mr. Baker is known to police, he said, and police believe drugs and alcohol were involved in the incident. The suspect has been held in custody at the Masset police station since Saturday afternoon and is scheduled to appear in Masset provincial court Wednesday morning (Sept. 10). He is facing seven charges, including aggravated assault, arson, uttering threats and mischief for damage to a police vehicle. The two employees who were working at the gas bar on Saturday were still too traumatized Monday to talk about the incident, even to police. Const. Mark Shaw said RCMP are still investigating and want to talk to any witnesses who haven’t yet come forward. Masset deputy fire chief Trevor Jarvis said gasoline is extremely flammable and a fire at a gas station is an extremely dangerous situation. One problem with gas is that it evaporates quickly, filling the air with a flammable vapour. “It’s not going to be a good situation,” he said. “The scenarios are endless.” The Masset fire department practices fighting gas fires at least once a year, he said, using foam. The Old Massett volunteer fire department was called out for Saturday’s incident, but fire chief Peter White said he is not allowed to say any more about it. The Kithlaigaa gas bar is close to Chief Matthews school as well as the Old Massett village council offices and recreation hall. Sgt. Grant MacDonald said he believes the gas station incident is an isolated one, although it does illustrate the problems that drugs and alcohol can cause. RCMP cannot tackle the problem of drugs on their own, he said. “We need the community to help us,” he said, by calling with solid information about drugs and drug dealers. “To the best of my knowledge, that’s not happening.”