POINT EDWARD, Ont. — A member of the Point Edward Volunteer Fire Department who became trapped under the ice during an ice water rescue drill has died of his injuries.
Lambton County OPP say Gary Kendall, 51, from Point Edward near Sarnia, was taking part in the ice water rescue training session Saturday afternoon when he became trapped.
Other members from the fire department pulled him from the water and he was taken to the Bluewater Health hospital by emergency services.
Police say he succumbed to injuries early this morning.
The Lambton OPP crime unit and the provincial police forensic identification unit are investigating and the Ministry of Labour was contacted after the incident.
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01-31-2010, 02:19 PM #1
Firefighter dies following ice rescue drill in Canada
02-22-2010, 07:02 PM #2
- Join Date
- May 2000
- Wheaton IL
Any other information available, PPE worn, other conditions that might help explain this tragic accident.
02-22-2010, 11:08 PM #3
Training exercise turns fatal for long-time firefighter
By: Canadian OH&S News
February 9, 2010
POINT EDWARD, Ont (Canadian OH&S News)
A Point Edward, Ontario volunteer firefighter is dead after an accident during a rescue training exercise.
On the morning of January 30, Gary Kendall, 51, was participating in an ice-water rescue training exercise conducted by Point Edward Fire & Rescue when he became trapped under ice, says a statement released by the Lambton County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). The 16-year veteran of the Point Edward fire department was pulled from the water by colleagues and transported by Lambton Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to the Bluewater Health community hospital in nearby Sarnia, where he succumbed to his injuries early the next morning.
The accident, which took place at the St Clair River, occurred when "a large ice floe came down the river, trapping [the] firefighter underwater," says William Lin, spokesman for the Ministry of Labour (MoL). He reports that EMS, OPP and ministry officials were dispatched and attended the scene.
No information surrounding the details of the training procedure has been released publicly, including what the training exercise entailed, whether the victim was wearing protective gear or whether there were other health factors that might have contributed to the accident. "As of now, the investigation is ongoing," says Lin.
Point Edward Fire & Rescue is largely volunteer-based, consisting of a fire chief, a fire prevention officer and 30 volunteer firefighters, says information from the fire department's website. The organization could not be reached for comment on the accident by press time.
Ice-water rescue training involves certain safety precautions, explains Darren Storey, co-chair of the Firefighters Association of Ontario's occupational health and safety committee. "Most departments apply a full immersion-type suit that does have flotation properties to it," he says. He adds that most companies that manufacture these suits recommend that a second personal flotation device also be used.
In addition, Storey suggests that "there should be secure lines on those guys when they're operating."
While the Ontario Fire College offers provincial firefighter training, there is no legislation requiring fire departments to use these courses, particularly since some fire departments would not encounter ice-rescue situations, Storey says.
"If there's a private individual or company that offers that training, they can take the training through there," he says. "What the Ministry of Labour requires is that it's done by a competent individual and safety precautions are taken."
In Ontario, volunteer firefighters are legally entitled to the same protections as other types of firefighters, says Lin. "The employer duties of the Occupational Health and Safety Act that apply to professional fire departments also apply to volunteer fire departments," he says.
02-24-2010, 01:05 PM #4
- Join Date
- Dec 2009
I know several members from that department and proper PPE would have been worn. Safety precautions were always taken whether it was training or an actual incident. I'm quite sure more information will be available after the Ministry of Labour is done their investigation. I am very familiar with the area because I dive in that area and the currents change everyday.
Last edited by PEFD80; 06-03-2010 at 09:53 PM.
02-26-2010, 09:19 PM #5
- Join Date
- May 2000
- Wheaton IL
Thanks for the information, all we can do is try to understand what happened so it can be avoided by another agency.
08-23-2010, 11:04 PM #6
City, Fire Chief & Training Officer charged in firefighters death
Point Edward, fire chief charged in firefighter's death
by: TARA JEFFREY
POINT EDWARD — The Village of Point Edward, its fire chief, and a training officer have been charged in the death of a firefighter who was trapped under ice during a rescue training exercise on Lake Huron in January.
The Ontario Ministry of Labour laid a total of 11 charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, court documents show.
Fire chief Doug MacKenzie, the village, and Terry Harrison, of Georgetown, Ont., are each charged with "failing to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for protection of a worker."
Volunteer firefighter Gary Kendall, 51, died following a water training exercise conducted at the shoreline of Lake Huron, where the lake enters the St. Clair River.
"I can confirm that charges were laid against the Village and the other named employee defendant," Point Edward Mayor Dick Kirkland said in a statement, Monday.
"As the matter is before the court, out of respect for the court proceedings, our employees, and all other individuals affected by the tragic events, it would be premature and inappropriate to comment.
"The Village has been, and will continue to be committed to health and safety in the workplace," Kirkland added.
Members of the Point Edward fire department were conducting ice water rescue training in the water on Jan. 30, when a large ice flow came down the river, trapping Kendall beneath it, a ministry spokesperson said at the time.
The 17-year veteran of the service was pulled from the water but died the following day in hospital.
No other firefighters were injured in the incident.
The court document, signed by labour inspector Ron Elliott, states the three defendants are charged with failing to ensure that an adequate number of rescuers were on shore at the time of the incident, along with failing to provide adequate equipment, and failure to appoint a safety officer.
The village and MacKenzie — identified as employer and supervisor respectively — have also been charged with failing to ensure that adequate prerequisite training had been completed and/or confirmed.
MacKenzie faces an additional charge of failing to ensure an adequate safety plan was present, and/or failing to review an adequate training plan.
Harrison, listed as a supervisor, is also charged with failing to ensure an adequate pre-training hazard assessment was conducted, and failing to have an adequate training plan and/or adequate pre-training briefing.
A court date has been set for Sept. 10.
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