Lachine Rapids: an area too dangerous to save people

Lachine Rapids: an area too dangerous to save people there


The Montreal Firefighters Association believes that its members will continue to help people in danger in an area of ​​the Lachine Rapids even if the CNESST asks them not to.&nbsp ;

Firefighters at the dock during the October 17, 2021 rescue operation in the Lachine Rapids.

“If we put a firefighter in a situation where he can save a life. If people in difficulty are within reach, if they are threatened with death, it's utopian to believe that a firefighter will not intervene,” said Richard Lafortune, vice-president of the Firefighters Association of Montreal, referring to the intervention exclusion zone imposed by the Commission for Standards, Equity, Health and Safety at Work (CNESST).

The latter made a reminder of this sector in its report on the accident of a sapper in the middle of a rescue in October 2021.

Firefighter Pierre Lacroix who was killed in the exercise of his duties.

Pierre Lacroix, a firefighter with thirty years of experience, lost his life when a team tried to rescue boaters adrift in the Lachine rapids. 

The boat of four rescuers overturned in this area.

According to the report, a combination of the weight distribution of the firefighters and the position of the boat in the hollow of the wave caused it to overturn.

The union believes that denying firefighters access to certain areas will not prevent such tragedies from occurring, and the absence of corrective measures is deplored. 

Problem of boat

“Beyond rekindling the wound still alive from the event we experienced, we already knew that there were shortcomings. It is a fight of David against Goliath. These boats are not designed to intervene,” added Mr. Lafortune.

Still according to the report, the firefighters of the Montreal fire department intervened without having all the necessary information in order to move in the sector of the Lachine rapids which exceeds the navigability limits, no GPS data being accessible for this sector.&nbsp ;

A lack of crew training was also raised, despite an exemplary launch carried out by an experienced team, commented the two inspectors in charge of the investigation, Danny Laporte and Éric Dupont.  

To prevent such an event from happening again, the CNESST recommends, in particular, raising awareness among future firefighters. 

In addition , the City of Montreal received in the last week a statement of offense from the commission in connection with the incident. 

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