Fire Chief & Deputy Chief Face Charges In Firefighters Death
From the Calgary Sun
YELLOWKNIFE -- Safety charges have been laid against the City of Yellowknife and its top fire officials in the deaths of a firefighter from Calgary and his comrade in a blaze last year.
The charges include failing to take reasonable precautions to ensure the health and safety of crews, as well as failing to properly instruct each worker "in the safe performance of his or her duties."
Kevin Olson, 24, had been on the job just 10 days when he was killed by a collapsing roof while fighting a fire at a Yellowknife hardware store in March 2005.
The rookie firefighter from Calgary got married six weeks before his death. The couple was planning to fly to Russia last summer to meet his wife's family.
Cyril Fyfe, 41, an 18-year veteran, was also injured in the blaze and died later in hospital when his family took him off life support. He left behind a wife and five children.
The Workers' Compensation Board laid the charges under the Northwest Territories Safety Act.
"The charges were necessary in order to fulfil our responsibility to enforce the safety act and regulations," board spokeswoman Tanya Fraser said yesterday.
Fire Chief Michael Beauchamp and deputy chief Darcy Hernblad face a hefty penalty if found guilty.
"(It's) a maximum penalty of $500,000, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding a year, or both," said Fraser.
Olson and Fyfe were inside the burning building when the roof caved on top of them. Other firefighters had been on top trying to make a hole to tackle the blaze, which had spread through the trusses.
The crew on the roof managed to escape without serious injuries.
According to Firefighterclosecalls.com the orders issued to the City of Yellowknife include:
--The N.W.T. Workers' Compensation Board has told the city of Yellowknife to have managers and supervisors in its fire department re-certified to meet national safety standards.
--Create a full-time Safety Officer position in the Fire Department, trained to national standards.
--Develop and implement a comprehensive Fire Department health and safety program.
--Conduct an external audit of Fire Department operational procedures and guidelines, to identify deficiencies and suggest corrective actions.
--Evaluate current training practices for gaps that may be present.
--Develop a procedure for all personnel responding to a call for firefighting duty. Any emergency recall system to be implemented shall include some method of transmitting this information to the Fire Hall dispatch centre.
--Review emergency scene management procedures and operating guidelines, and convey results to local law enforcement officials and other government departments.
--The department must do regular site and building inspections to familiarize themselves wtith hazards they may encounter while performing their duties.
--Conduct debriefs in a timely manner after an incident regarding deficiences and make note of corrective measures implemented.
Yellowknife Charges Dropped
Crown stays Yellowknife fire charges
The Crown has stayed safety charges against the City of Yellowknife and its deputy fire chief, Darcy Hernblad, in connection with a 2005 blaze that killed two city firefighters.
The charges were laid after firefighters Cyril Fyfe and Kevin Olson died when the roof of a burning building collapsed on them.
The Crown stayed the charges Friday after lawyers for the city, Hernblad and the Workers' Compensation Board reached an out-of-court settlement.
The agreement calls on the city to spend an additional $300,000 over the next 10 years. Hernblad will also have to undergo competency testing and take training as required.
Charges against fire chief Mick Beauchamp, who has since resigned, were dropped in July.