The Montreal Fire Department (SIM) has taken note of the recommendations of coroner Me Géhane Kamel’s report tabled Thursday concerning the tragic death of firefighter Pierre Lacroix.
Firefighter Pierre Lacroix lost his life during an emergency rescue that turned tragic in the Lachine rapids of the St. Lawrence River in October 2021. He drowned, caught under the hull of an overturned boat. The report of the public inquiry into this death was released by coroner Me Géhane Kamel on Thursday.
In addition to making the chronology of events, the coroner noted that the training of firefighters regarding nautical rescues was deficient at the time of the intervention. She also noted shortcomings in the equipment available to firefighters.
Since the tragedy, the SIM has set up a committee “made up of qualified instructors to review the service offer, the training and the maintenance of the skills of the firefighters who are part of the nautical rescue team. This committee will integrate the coroner’s recommendations into its reflections and proposals,” the City of Montreal said in a press release on Friday.
The boat used by the team in which Mr. Lacroix participated during the rescue – the Hammerhead 1864 – had been pointed out as having defects for this type of intervention. The SIM specifies “before the tragic event, it undertook a process to acquire 12 high-performance boats, custom-designed for the nautical rescue mission and equipped with several state-of-the-art equipment. This new fleet will gradually enter service from May 2023.”
To the cities of the Montreal agglomeration, Géhane Kamel also made several recommendations concerning better signage for the population and boaters approaching the Lachine Rapids.
Indeed, boaters rescued by firefighters that evening in October 2021 knew of the existence of the Lachine Rapids, “but none of them understood the deadly potential. This situation [in] itself is problematic and demonstrates that citizens are not on the lookout for the dangers of navigation on the river,” writes Me Kamel in his report.
The City of Montreal did not indicate in its press release how it intends to implement the recommendations concerning better signage and prevention of nautical accidents.
“The death of our brave colleague Pierre Lacroix is a tragic event and even today I salute the courage and dedication he has shown throughout his career,” said Richard Liebmann, Director of the Fire Safety Department, in a press release. and civil security coordinator for the Montreal agglomeration. I offer my deepest condolences to his family and loved ones. »