February 26th, 2024

Montreal firefighter drowning: Safety board says fire department lacked rescue plan

By The Canadian Press on January 31, 2024.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada says a lack of planning among Montreal fire department personnel contributed to the October 2021 fatal capsizing of a rescue boat on the St. Lawrence River. The helmet of fireman Pierre Lacroix is carried to the church for his funeral services in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 29, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

MONTREAL – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada says a lack of planning among Montreal fire department officials contributed to the October 2021 fatal capsizing of a rescue boat on the St. Lawrence River.

One firefighter drowned after the boat flipped while he and his colleagues attempted to pull a pleasure vessel from the Lachine Rapids off the southern tip of Montreal Island.

The Transportation Safety Board published its report today on the incident, saying the firefighters who were dispatched to the scene didn’t have an action plan.

It says the firefighters didn’t have a strategy on when to abandon their rescue attempt and transfer the operation to another team beyond the rapids downstream.

The board also identified deficiencies within the fire department in October 2021, even if the shortfalls didn’t contribute to the death of firefighter Pierre Lacroix.

It notes for example that the commanding officers responsible for overseeing water rescues were unfamiliar with that kind of operation.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 31, 2024.

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