Ontario sees 1st firefighter death since 2011 after Kingston-area blaze
Patrick Pidgeon, 45, served with Canadian Forces in Afghanistan says Loyalist fire chief
A firefighter with the Loyalist Township Emergency Services who suffered fatal injuries battling a fire in Amherstview, Ont., on Saturday has been identified.
Loyalist Fire Chief Fred Stephenson identified the man as 45-year-old Patrick Pidgeon, a husband, father and Canadian Forces veteran who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan.
A statement from the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs Sunday said its thoughts and deepest sympathies were with Pidgeon's family and friends. It is the first workplace death of an Ontario firefighter since 2011.
It is with heavy hearts that we announce this evening, Loyalist Township Emergency Services lost one of its own earlier today.—@LoyalistFire
"They're a very tight-knit group," general manager and fire chief for the Town of Greater Napanee emergency services told CBC News. Grief counseling has been made available to firefighters and which will continue to be offered as long as needed, he said.
'The blackest smoke I've ever seen'
Firefighters were called to an apartment complex in the community just west of Kingston late Saturday afternoon.
"It was the blackest smoke I've ever seen," Steve Davis told CBC News. "It's a tough job, running into something that most people want to run away from."
A statement from Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) in Napanee said the fire was contained to a single apartment unit and that the firefighter was badly hurt at the scene before succumbing to his injuries in hospital. No one else was injured, according to the release.
Roughly 80 apartment units still evacuated after firefighter killed in fire near Kingston yesterday <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LODD?src=hash">#LODD</a> <a href="https://t.co/8GoZW7D3wr">pic.twitter.com/8GoZW7D3wr</a>—@ACollinsPhoto
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the <a href="https://twitter.com/LoyalistFire">@LoyalistFire</a> department as they deal with the loss of one of their firefighters <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LODD?src=hash">#LODD</a>—@ChiefPingitore
We are saddened to hear of the Line of Duty Death of a firefighter in Amherstview ON. It is dangerous work we do. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/sadday?src=hash">#sadday</a>—@BHFB
My thoughts are with the family of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/firefighter?src=hash">#firefighter</a> Patrick Pidgeon and the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Loyalist?src=hash">#Loyalist</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Fire?src=hash">#Fire</a> Dept. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Amherstview?src=hash">#Amherstview</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LODD?src=hash">#LODD</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RIP?src=hash">#RIP</a>—@MessierOnFire
There's no word yet on the cause of the fire, however, the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal is leading the investigation with help from the OPP and the Ontario Coroner's Office.
Boissonneault says the association is currently working on a national strategy for mental and occupational health support to address firefighters' work-related stress and trauma.
"We've got to make sure we're protecting the people who protect us," he says.
With files from CBC News