Death of firefighter Pierre Lacroix: CNESST notes several shortcomings

That CNESST will announce the conclusions of its investigation on Thursday, almost a year after the capsizing of the 1864 boat carrying Pierre Lacroix and three other firefighters.

It was October 17, 2021, 7:10 p.m. when the emergency call came in. The 1864 left Lachine Barracks and headed straight for the rapids to attempt to rescue boaters aboard a boat whose engine had failed. However, while attempting to tow, the boaters’ boat got caught in the trough of a eddy wave and swept the 1864 with it.

That CNESST notes that the stability tests originally performed on the 1864 did not account for the drag effect. The towing was therefore carried out with a boat that was not approved for this use notice the inspectors while the SIMdoes not have clear instructions that allow this maneuver to be performed .

When the fire boat, a Rosborough HammerHead, tries to reverse, it fails, because the engine does not perform, probably due to cavitationsays the report.

Then a large amount of water entered the fireboat. The positioning of the firefighters at the front of the boat, the speed with which a large volume of water enters the bow and the free surface phenomenon causes the boat to capsize almost is written.

The boat capsizes and the four firefighters end up in the water. It will take almost 40 minutes to rescue three firefighters. But Pierre Lacroix is ​​missing. At 9 p.m., almost an hour and a half later, rescuers were still unaware that Pierre Lacroix was trapped under the boat. Only at night he is sighted: For unknown reasons, the worker got stuck under the boatwe read.

Fireman Lacroix is ​​brought back to shore in the morning. His death was pronounced in the hospital.

A third capsizes

That CNESST notes that firefighters have crossed the boundaries of the restricted zone, an area where SIM firefighters have received orders from their organization not to intervene since a capsize in 2010 a year earlier, 2009, the report notes. The 1864 is thus the third HammerHead of the SIM to capsize.

That CNESST points out that the GPS was not used by the firefighters, but even if they had, the no-navigation zone in the Lachine Rapids was no longer programmed into the system on board the boat. The crew members are aware of the existence of such a restricted zone. However, there is no way to locate it or relate to it.

A command post on the shore was set up minutes before the capsize, reports the CNESST. but He has no visual or location tools that would allow him to guide or orient the 1864 in any way in relation to the prohibited area, which is still happening approximately. A inaccurate time counting Before the fireboat arrives, the first wave is given by radio.

In his conclusions, the CNESST names three causes to explain the accident:

  • During the firefighters’ approach maneuver to try to rescue the drifting boaters, the combination of the firefighters’ weight distribution in their boat and the displacement of the water, which is entering rapidly, and its positioning in the trough of a wave causes it to overturn .
  • Fire brigade intervenes in a sector that includes the Lachine Rapids that exceeds the navigability limits of your boatbased on incomplete information.
  • The crew of 1864 and the emergency services of the land station are insufficiently trained exposes workers to drowning during a rescue operation in an unmarked areathe Lachine Rapids Exclusion Zone.

In terms of training, the CNESST is also categorical: several skill retention programs have not been completed SIM 2021 by the majority of teams in multiple barracks. The Specialized Operations Division went no further to ensure that these programs are consistently implemented by firefighters in the nautical sector.

That CNESST notes that there is a lack of regular practice in difficult conditions, such as at night. Thanks to a structured training program and strict monitoring of maintaining skills, The crew of 1864 and Coastal Command operational forces would have been better equipped to analyze the risks and make the right decisions.

Despite the problems she’s noticing with the formation and the Hammerheads, the CNESST is limited to maintaining the exclusion zone in the Lachine rapids sector. She does not indicate the required level of training and does not give specific recommendations on boats.

Last week, the SIM ordered the Hammerheads removed, citing the removal various information […] recently brought to the attention of SIM management as part of the preparation of a report by Radio-Canada on the use of Hammerhead boats.

The city of Montreal has also launched an internal investigation.

Jordan Johnson

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