News Release Archive

LABOUR--Fire Marshal's Fatality Investigation Complete
Enhanced training and clear standards are essential for keeping
firefighters safe and healthy on the job, Fire Marshal Bob
Cormier said today.  

These comments are found in the fire marshal's report into the
fatality of volunteer firefighter Ronald Sutherland of Pictou
County. Mr. Sutherland, a captain with the Caribou Fire
Department, died while fighting a fire in Bay View, Pictou Co.,
on July 25, 1997. 

The fire marshal has recommended occupational health and safety
seminars for firefighters throughout the province. The training
will be offered by the Nova Scotia Firefighters' School in
co-operation with the fire marshal's office. The fire marshal
also called for the completion of the process to develop an
occupational health and safety code of practice for firefighters.
Working groups are now drafting these standards.  

"Mr. Sutherland's death was a real loss to the local community
and the entire fire service of Nova Scotia," said Mr. Cormier.
"The challenge now is to learn from this tragedy and make sure
that a similar accident doesn't happen again."

The fire marshal's report concludes there was no negligence
associated with the accident. The findings indicate Mr.
Sutherland was trapped inside the burning house when the upper
floor collapsed. He died of suffocation after running out of air.
Tests show the firefighter's tank was working properly at the
time of the accident.

Fire marshal officials interviewed witnesses, tested equipment
and examined the fire scene as part of their investigation. RCMP
and officers with the Department of Labour's occupational health
and safety division assisted.

A followup analysis of the accident was conducted by the three
departments that responded to the fire. These departments, from
Caribou, Abercrombie and Pictou, are now addressing various fire
safety issues such as training and mutual aid. 

The cause of the fire was determined to be careless smoking. The
homeowner also died in the blaze. 

The latest fire statistics for Canada show that in 1994 one
firefighter was killed and about 1,000 were injured in the line
of duty.

Contact: Bob Cormier
         Office of the Fire Marshal

         Jennifer MacIsaac
         Department of Labour

NOTE TO EDITORS: A summary of the fire marshal's report is
available by calling 902-424-4492 or 902-424-5721.

ngr                September 24, 1997                 12:25 pm