Montreal firefighter drowned in Lachine rapids due to ‘deficient’ training, report says


Improper coaching and an insufficient boat led to the drowning loss of life of a Montreal firefighter throughout a rescue operation final yr within the St. Lawrence River, Quebec’s office security board stated.

The Fee des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) launched its report Thursday after its investigation into the loss of life of Pierre Lacroix, a 58-year-old father of two.

Lacroix died on Oct. 17, 2021, after he and three fellow firefighters went into the Lachine rapids to avoid wasting two boaters in misery. Whereas making ready to tow the boat to security, the firefighters’ vessel, known as 1864, capsized and Lacroix went lacking. His physique was pulled from the water the next day.

On the time, the Montreal hearth chief, Richard Liebmann, stated it was “probably the most troublesome obligation a hearth chief can have” to announce his loss of life.

The CNESST stated in its report the rescue mission was going nicely till the primary responders reached a harmful part of the rapids the place a mix of their weight distribution within the rescue boat and the quantity of water dashing into it triggered it to capsize.

“Firefighters intervened on the idea of incomplete info throughout a rescue in a sector of the Lachine Rapids that went past the navigability limits of their boat,” the report added.

“Poor coaching of 1864’s crew and shoreline command put up responders uncovered employees to the hazard of drowning throughout a rescue operation in an unmarked space of ​​the Lachine Rapids.”

The CNESST fined the Metropolis of Montreal underneath part 237 of the Act respecting occupational well being and security, which carries a penalty between $17,680 and $70,727 for a primary offence.

The labour security board launched suggestions for the hearth division to determine the dangers related to water rescues, guarantee firefighters know the bounds of their boat, and “be sure that employees have structured theoretical and sensible coaching in water rescue.”

To forestall future tragedies, the CNESST stated it could share its investigation report with a number of stakeholders for coaching functions, together with the Affiliation of Fireplace and Civil Security Managers of Quebec, in addition to the Nationwide Faculty of Firefighters of Quebec.

The seek for the lacking firefighter concerned an underwater digital camera, a helicopter, and several other hours of nautical searches by a number of police and hearth crews from surrounding areas. 

Canada’s public security minister, Invoice Blair, and Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante have been amongst those that supplied their condolences to the fallen firefighter who “made the final word sacrifice.”


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