Canadian Train Wreck, Aurora Shooting to be Discussed at Firehouse Expo

“Ripped from the headlines.”

While that’s typically heard at the beginning of Law and Order, it’s the best description for Firehouse Expo this year.

Firehouse Expo will be held in Baltimore July 15-19.

Last July, residents and visitors in a Canadian town were enjoying a relaxing evening when their lives were changed forever.

Tank cars from a runaway train derailed behind Main Street spilling about two million gallons of highly flammable crude oil. The explosions sent fireballs into the night sky, and set more than a dozen buildings on fire.

Come hear what Lac Megantic firefighters faced as they rushed to evacuate people from the massive inferno. On Friday, July 18 at 2 p.m., J. Gordon Routley will lead the discussion on the incident that claimed 47 lives.

Mutual aid companies responded from dozens of communities in Quebec and northern Maine but it took more than 36 hours for the blaze to be controlled.

Firehouse Expo attendees also will hear from the incident commander and medics from Aurora, Colo. about how they handled a mass shooting at a movie theater.

The presentation is set for noon on Saturday, July 19.

Incident Commander Kris Andersen, Lt. Jeremy Sones and Paramedic John Spera will discuss operations at the incident in which 12 were killed and 70 injured.

The keynote address during opening ceremonies will have the audience wiping tears one minute and laughing the next.

Dr. David Griffin was an engineer who responded to the Sofa Super Store in June 18, 2007.

He will take you on an emotional roller coaster of his life after he lost nine colleagues. You will hear about his drug abuse and darkest hours as well as his strength to dig himself out.

Griffin dedicates his lectures to the Charleston 9.

“We are so fortunate to have many inspiring speakers. They will give the audience an idea how it was to be there, and how they handled the incidents,” said Harvey Eisner, Firehouse Expo show director.