Inquest demanded by families of two men killed in firefighter training exercises

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TORONTO – Relatives of two Ontario men who died in separate firefighter training exercises offered by a private company say they want coroner’s inquests into the deaths to ensure the tragedies aren’t repeated.

Gary Kendall, a volunteer firefighter, died in an ice rescue exercise near Sarnia in 2010 while a similar incident claimed the life of firefighting student Adam Brunt last month in Hanover.

Brunt’s father, Al Brunt, says it’s important to find out exactly what went wrong to prevent it from ever happening again.

READ MORE: Ontario looks to regulate private safety courses after firefighter training death

He joined a New Democrat MPP in pushing for the province to regulate private sector companies that provide specialized safety courses to firefighters and other first responders.

Members of the Kendall family were also present but a friend spoke on their behalf.

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The courses aren’t mandatory and the companies aren’t required to follow best practices established for firefighters.

The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities said Wednesday it would look into regulating the private safety training industry in the wake of the fatal incidents.

The ministry says it will review the Private Career Colleges Act, which regulates vocational training, and will come up with a list of recommendations by the fall.

Al Brunt says he’s encouraged by the announcement and hopes it leads to concrete changes.

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