Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia Firefighters School hit with 2 compliance orders after training incident

In the wake of an incident involving a firefighter with the Truro Fire Service injured during a training exercise, N.S. labour department investigators have issued two compliance orders. The firefighter later died.

Truro firefighter Skyler Blackie died earlier this week after being injured in routine training exercise

The Nova Scotia Firefighters School has been in operation since 1967. The motto on its crest says growth, strength, knowledge and skill. (Robert Short/CBC)

The provincial Department of Labour has issued two compliance orders to the Nova Scotia Firefighters School in Waverley, N.S, following a training incident in which a firefighter was critically injured, CBC News has learned.

Skyler Blackie, 28, died March 20, 11 days after the injury.

The orders require the school to remove fire extinguishers and send them for inspection and to hand over training and certification records.

Blackie was seriously hurt during a routine training exercise at the non-profit school in operation since 1967. He started as a career firefighter in Truro in the fall of 2013.

Shannon Kerr, a spokesperson for the Labour Department, said in an email the school has been directed to "remove all similar equipment, send for inspection, and provide the department with the results of the inspection once completed." 

Said Kerr: "We can confirm that the equipment involved in this incident was a fire extinguisher."

The second order demands the school provide "all training and certification records."

The orders were issued as labour investigators continue to probe the cause of the fatality. No other information was released.

In addition to the labour department effort, the Nova Scotia Medical Examiner Service is also investigating the death.

For those wishing to donate in Blackie's memory, his family suggests donations be made to Colchester SPCA or Prostate Cancer Canada. (Obituary/Mattatal-Varner Funeral Home)

'A truly beautiful soul and dedicated firefighter'

A statement from his sister, Jessica Gillis, said her family has lost "our son, brother, husband and uncle, while the world lost a truly beautiful soul and dedicated firefighter."

She expressed thanks to the community for "prayers and support; they have not gone unnoticed."

"Our family is devastated by the huge void that now exists in our lives," she said.

The family is also asking for privacy while they grieve their loss.

Blackie's obituary states he led the fire hall's efforts to raise money for breast and prostate cancer. (Twitter: Truro Fire Service)

Regimental funeral planned

His obituary states he was charismatic, funny, outgoing, and kind. He led charitable efforts at the fire hall for breast and prostate cancer, including the moustache-themed Movember fundraiser.

A full regimental funeral for Blackie will be held at Colchester Legion Stadium on Saturday, March 30.

Blois Currie, the chief of the Truro Fire Service, has said Blackie was "a great firefighter. He was what every firefighter should be."

The local president for the union, the International Association of Firefighters, declined to be interviewed.

A call to the Nova Scotia Firefighters School for comment was not returned.

About the Author

Elizabeth Chiu is a reporter in Nova Scotia and hosts Atlantic Tonight on Saturdays at 7, 7:30 in Newfoundland. If you have a story idea for her, contact her at elizabeth.chiu@cbc.ca.