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  • Hunter Cresswell

Chelsea firefighters benched after park rescue

By Hunter Cresswell

After saving a man's life, at least two Chelsea firefighters were told not to respond to calls or set foot inside of Chelsea fire stations.

“They were asked not to go on site or on calls,” Chelsea director general John-David McFaul said, adding that they weren’t “suspended” or “relieved of duty.”

Chelsea Volunteer Fire Department Capt. John Pomeroy previously told the Low Down that, on Nov. 13, a man had strayed off official trails near the vista point along the popular Gatineau Park trail near Meech Lake and became stuck on a narrow ledge with no safe way back up to the lookout or to the trail below. He had been there for hours and was near hypothermic when Pomeroy and an unknown number of other Chelsea fire personnel rescued him before his condition deteriorated further and he fell off the cliff.

A rescuer in a harness was lowered by rope from the lookout down to the helpless man; the man was placed in a harness also attached to the rope; and the pair were lowered to the trail below. The man was assessed by paramedics, but not transported to a hospital for treatment.

McFaul said that Chelsea Fire Chief Charles Éthier was on holiday on the day when the rescue took place. McFaul said that the chief wants to talk with both McFaul himself and the involved firefighters about the incident, possibly because it was an unauthorized rescue and in another fire department's territory.