Cranbrook, B.C., fire captain killed in head-on collision
Cpt. Clayton Murrell was killed Saturday, wife Joan MacKinnon in critical condition, one other driver dead
Firefighters around the province are paying tribute to a fire captain killed Saturday in a car crash in B.C.'s Interior.
The City of Cranbrook and the Cranbrook firefighters' union both confirmed the death of Cpt. Clayton Murrell, 51.
Lee Pratt, mayor of Cranbrook, said he was devastated to learn of Murrell's death. He said Murrell was beloved and respected by coworkers and the community at large.
"He was just a good, stand-up, honest guy," Pratt said. "He had very good integrity and principles, and he stuck with them."
A memorial has been put up in front of the Cranbrook fire hall, and fellow emergency workers expressed their condolences on social media.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Brother Murrell’s family and with our Brothers and Sisters of the Cranbrook Firefighters. <a href="https://t.co/mpAKVM6Ly9">pic.twitter.com/mpAKVM6Ly9</a>—@pgfirefighters
We are devastated to hear the news about Clay and his wife. He has been a friendly face, a gentlemen, and a monumental person in the advocacy for firefighters in this province. Our hearts go out to the family, friends and brothers and sisters of IAFF L1253. <a href="https://t.co/ZblI8Tteld">https://t.co/ZblI8Tteld</a>—@DNorthVanFire
Deepest condolences from all of us <a href="https://twitter.com/BC_EHS?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BC_EHS</a> . Thank you Captain Clayton Murrell for your dedicated service to your community. RIP<br>Our hearts go out to your family and loved ones . Thank you to our crew who responded to this very difficult call. ❤️ <a href="https://t.co/KcD0X5nviH">https://t.co/KcD0X5nviH</a>—@LupiniBCEHS
Many around the province were familiar with Murrell through his role as vice president for the Kootenay region with the B.C. Professional Firefighters Association, the union that represents the province's firefighters.
"We are devastated to hear the news about Clay and his wife," reads a tweet from the District of North Vancouver's fire department.
"He has been a friendly face, a gentlemen, and a monumental person in the advocacy for firefighters in this province."
Wife in critical condition
Murrell's wife, Joan MacKinnon, was airlifted to hospital in Kelowna where she remains in critical condition, according to the City of Cranbrook.
Pratt said MacKinnon is the head lifeguard at Cranbrook's aquatic centre. He said she and Murrell were very happily married.
"They were getting to their stage in life where things were looking very good for them and they were really looking forward to the next years," Pratt said.
Another driver, 2 horses also killed
The crash that killed Murrell happened at about 9 a.m. Saturday on the Crowsnest Highway near Yahk, south of Cranbrook.
RCMP say a tractor trailer lost control on black ice and veered into oncoming traffic, colliding head-on with a truck hauling a horse trailer.
According to police, the driver of the tractor trailer, a 59-year-old man from Edmonton, was not wearing a seatbelt, and was killed after being ejected from the cab of his truck.
The two horses in the horse trailer were also killed.
Police say speed and icy roads were factors in the collision.