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August 5, 2010
By Laura King


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Thursday, Aug. 5, 2010

I just got back from Vaughan, The City Above Toronto. Well, that’s what it used to be called but some nasty politics after the 2007 municipal elections resulted in the slogan being manipulated into The City Above the Law and, well, now it’s just Vaughan, period – no slogan.

I digress. I was in Vaughan to interview Fire Chief Greg Senay, Deputy Chief Glenn Duncan and Emergency Planning Manager Sharon Walker about the tornado that bounced like a beach ball through Vaughan at supper time on Aug. 20, 2009. We’ll feature the tornado story in the September issue of Fire Fighting in Canada, which will focus on disaster management.

Vaughan
Fire and Rescue Services is in the city’s joint operations centre, with York
Region Police. It’s a massive, maze-like building into which the EOC will move shortly. It already
houses fire administration, training (there was a gaggle of new recruits there
today) and a very cool garage and repair operation headed by Chief Mechanical
Officer Chris Dennis. I’m thrilled to let you know that Chris’s inaugural
TruckTech column will appear in Fire
Fighting in Canada
next month, so it was great to see his digs – a massive,
six-bay garage – and his many toys, including the command unit he built from
scratch over three years and that was first used in the aftermath of the
tornado. We’ll feature the command vehicle in an upcoming issue of Fire
Fighting in
Canada too but here’s a sneak peek.

 

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The City of Vaughan's mobile command unit built by Chief Mechanical Officer Chris Dennis. Photo by Laura King.

Bit of a
kerfuffle in Hudson, Que., over the proposed sale of a ladder truck and the
resignation of Fire Chief Peter Milot. The comments at the end of the article
in the West Island Gazette tell the real story. You can read them here.

Interesting
– and gutsy – move by
Toronto city councilor Maria Augimeri,
who leaked to the media parts of a report by the Ontario Office of the Fire
Marshal into the Sunrise Propane explosion.

The
report is dated July 9 – almost a month ago – and blames an illegal fuel
transfer for the massive blast that killed an employee and resulted in the
death of Toronto Fire District Chief Bob Leek.

The OFM
says today that it will make an executive summary of the report public soon and
an edited version of the report will be available on request.

A Canadian Press story this afternoon says the OFM follows a process through which parties involved in legal proceedings get an incident report first, then, if the case is of significant public interest, the office releases an executive summary.

The story says it's not clear how Augimeri obtained the report, but it appears that her demands that the findings be made public came as the OFM was already close to doing so.

"The release that was made in the media certainly sped things up, but one has to respect the ongoing legal proceedings and other stakeholders that are involved in the process,'' OFM spokesman Chris Williams said.

You can read more here.

 


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