NEWS RELEASE - Meaford, Ontario - Final Charge in the Reeds Fire Case has been Dropped
NEWS RELEASE
For immediate release
Meaford, Ontario                                                                       
August 7, 2012,
 
 
Final Charge in the Reeds Fire Case has been Dropped
 
Justice of the Peace Thomas Stinson of released his final judgement today on the Reeds fire case.  The final charge has been dropped. 
 
Meaford and its Fire Department were charged by the Ministry of Labour for failing to take every reasonable precaution to protect workers.  Two Meaford and District Fire Department firefighters were injured in September 2009 while searching Reeds Restaurant for the owner, who they believed was inside the burning building.  
 
In a lengthy written decision filed with Provincial Offences Court in Owen Sound today, Justice of the Peace Thomas Stinson says that “because of the inherent unpredictable and dangerous nature of firefighting, defences such as mistake of fact and necessity may well be more easily relied upon by fire departments than they might by other defendants in workplace injury cases that occur, for example, on an assembly line in a factory”.
 
Fire Chief Mike Molloy is obviously very pleased with the decision.  “A charge resulting from us trying to save a life, would have a negative impact on every fire department, and firefighter in this country, and could have resulted in jeopardizing public safety. It would be very difficult for us to do our job in an emergency life or death situation knowing that legal proceedings may follow.  What firefighters do has an inherent element of danger attached to the job at times, and that’s part of the job.  That’s not to say we throw safety out the window.   We do our job as safely as possible, when possible. There is not a chief in this country that would intentionally put a firefighter in harm’s way. This has been tough on our guys, and our department, and I am glad to see the end in sight.
There is a 30 day appeal process.  Thanks go to solicitor Norman Keith on behalf of Gowlings for his efforts in representing the municipality.
 
For further information:
Mike Molloy
Director of Fire and Emergency Services/Fire Chief
519-538-6717