A few thousand firefighters gathered Friday to pay tribute to a Montreal colleague who died after being struck by a fire truck at the scene of a blaze.
The private civic funeral service for Thierry Godfrind was held at the Notre-Dame Basilica in Old Montreal as family, friends and firefighters from across the continent paid their last respects.
Godfrind, 39, died last Friday after being hit by the same vehicle that brought him to a fire in a north-end neighbourhood.
He was among firefighters from three stations that responded to a call on Dutrisac Street because of a pot on a stove. According to Montreal Fire Chief Serge Tremblay, Godfrind stepped off the truck and was struck by the vehicle.
An estimated 2,000 Montreal firefighters marched along with colleagues from other cities including Winnipeg, Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa and some U.S. cities.
They were joined by other emergency service personnel such as police officers and ambulance technicians.
Godfrind, who came to firefighting later in life, was hired by the City of Montreal in 2010.
Friends and colleagues said Godfrind showed tremendous commitment to the profession he loved, switching from his business background in his late 30s to become a fireman.
Many of his colleagues at the fire hall have not returned to work since the tragic event.
"For a funeral like this, we try to give the family and his colleagues a bit of hope," Father Raymond Gravel said before the ceremony.
"Firefighters are a tight group and some are shocked and overcome by what has happened so my hope is that the funeral gives them a little bit of hope."
Godfrind was the first Montreal firefighter to die in action since 2006.
His death is being investigated by Quebec's work and safety commission as well as the fire department itself.