Before getting ready for the daily shower, around 6:30 PM, Megan Benvito had just settled a final bond on her phone when she heard an explosion. The noise appears to be coming from his room, but he is located on the third and final floor of an apartment building.
She realized the gravity of the situation when she saw flames licking her back porch. She didn’t do one or two, put on a coat, a scarf, and shoes, and took her keys, before she went out and called 911.
On the doorstep, the submarine passed in front of the treasury where she displayed her three Olympic medals, at the insistence of her lover, professional footballer Alexandre Dupuy.
“When you leave your home, never think that you will never be able to come back there again,” Benvito said at a virtual press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
She was speaking from the Olympic pool in Montreal, after her second training since the tragedy struck Thursday night in Mirabell. Her coach has yet to send her to the 10-meter-high platform, preferring to recover from her feelings first.
After walking out of her apartment, she made sure her downstairs neighbor, whose propane tank had exploded, was safe. They ran together, passing three children in search of their father. Fortunately, no one was injured in the fire.
Her next call was with her boyfriend who was on the job that night. He thought she still wanted to complain of triceps muscle after working out the night before. She opened her phone camera to prove that she was not kidding. The roof had already caught fire and her balcony was on the verge of collapsing.
In the end, it all happened. The entire block of 15 units, all the way to the basement car park. Benvito handed his keys to a policeman, believing he would bring him back with his beloved car, as a result of sponsorship in connection with the 2016 Olympics. It was crushed, full of water and frozen.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said the 31-year-old athlete. I couldn’t believe this was happening to me because I’m so afraid of fire. I don’t even play matches or turn my finger on a spark plug. I don’t like it, it is stressing me out. To live that, it seemed like it was a dream. ”
Since then, she’s had nightmares about it. “I made it today. The night from Saturday to Sunday was tough. I can still see the fire on my balcony really well. It’s a little stressful.”
Around midnight and midnight, firefighters threw the entire building to the ground. “There is absolutely nothing to recover. […] Of course he is sorry. But most importantly, Alex and I are healthy and alive. Everyone went out unharmed. ”
The next day Dupuy went to dig in the rubble as best he could. In the suburbs, he found some shorts from the Carabins de l’Université de Montréal, his parent school, but that’s it. There was no trace of his cups, his team’s shirts, but above all his wife’s three Olympic medals. Bronze synchronized with friend Roslyn Fillion, in 2012 and 2016, and bronze at the 10-meter singles race in Rio, also in 2016.
Does bronze melt at a high temperature? Benvito replied, “Good question, I have no idea.” People who will come and take everything know that there are medals. ”
She does not hide it, this loss is painful. The Canadian diving company immediately lodged protests with the Canadian Olympic Committee, which inquired of the International Olympic Committee about the procedure to follow to acquire new members.
I think they’ll really make sure I get the medals. Fingers crossed. Obviously, it won’t be the same, and it won’t be the one who beat the podium. At least I’ll get them.
Contrary to what I initially thought, the fire was not caused by use or failure of the grill. For some reason still unknown, his neighbor’s balcony could have caught fire before the cylinder was detonated.
Looking back, Benfeito realizes her quick decision to leave his residence may have saved her life, an idea that she continues to stir.
“I think being an athlete actually helped me respond quickly. We have always learned to anticipate the unexpected and respond as quickly as possible. This is also one of the reasons why I know if the guy is right. I’m someone who wants to make sure everyone is safe.”
‘Great love spell’
Benfeito is still in shock, thanks to the “big wave of love” coming from his family, his entourage, his teammates and the entire wonderful diving community.
“When I got back to training, I was overjoyed to see the people I love so much. I cried maybe two minutes when I saw Jane. [Abel]the Paradise [McKay]Hey Pam [Ware]Tendency [Citrini-Beaulieu] And guys. I wanted to take them in my arms, but we can’t … ”
Melanie Rinaldi, a former team-mate she has not seen in months, started a program Crowdfunding campaign that has already crossed $ 30,000 with a target of $ 100,000.
Athletically speaking, Benvito still hopes to be able to participate in the World Cup scheduled to be held in Tokyo in April, ahead of the Olympic High Mass scheduled to open on July 23.
“There are times when I start crying because we’ve lost everything. You are connected to your business. But it is also about seeing the positive. I don’t want to move too fast. I still have to express what just happened. But there are so many people around me giving me the love I need. . this is the most important. ”
Wednesday, you must ascend 10 meters.