April 22nd, 2024

Quebec firefighters who died in 2023 flood lacked training, equipment: safety board

By The Canadian Press on March 28, 2024.

Quebec's workplace safety board says a lack of training and equipment contributed to the deaths of two firefighters during a May 2023 flood northeast of Quebec City. Rescuers carry the body of one of the two missing firefighters to a helicopter, in Baie-Saint-Paul, Que. Wednesday, May 3, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

MONTREAL – Quebec’s workplace safety board says a lack of training and equipment contributed to the deaths of two firefighters during a flood northeast of Quebec City last May.

The volunteer firefighters were using an amphibious vehicle equipped with tracks and an outboard motor in an attempt to reach residents of a house that was surrounded by floodwaters in the small community of St-Urbain, Que.

The board says the current of the swollen Gouffre River swept the vehicle off course and into a tree, throwing the men into the river.

In its report, the board says that it was inappropriate to use the vehicle in a flooded field.

It also found that the operation lacked planning and that the firefighters didn’t have the appropriate skills, knowledge or equipment to attempt the rescue.

The victims were identified last year as 23-year-old Christopher Lavoie and 55-year-old Regis Lavoie, who were not related.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 28, 2024.

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