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City of London fined $55,000 after firefighters injured in training exercise

Rowers on Fanshawe Lake as seen from Fanshawe Dam on July 19, 2017.
Rowers on Fanshawe Lake as seen from Fanshawe Dam on July 19, 2017. Matthew Trevithick/980 CFPL

The City of London has been fined $55,000 in provincial offences court after two firefighters were injured during a training exercise.

The incident happened on June 15, 2018, while firefighters were familiarizing themselves with Fanshawe Lake and the trails surrounding it in the event of an emergency rescue.

Four firefighters were on a Zodiac Grand Mark III inflatable raft when one of them noticed the middle of the boat was low on air.

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One of the firefighters then unscrewed the valve in the middle and accidentally let all of the air out of the bottom of the boat.

When firefighters tried to fix the problem with a compressed gas cylinder, the middle of the boat exploded, injuring two of the four onboard.

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The Ministry of Labour (MOL) determined that the boat exploded due to overinflation and that the workers were using the wrong equipment to inflate the raft and were not properly trained on how to do so.

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The city pleaded guilty to not following Section 25(2)(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, which states an employer shall take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.

The MOL determined the city failed to provide the proper equipment needed to inflate the raft.

The court is also imposing a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge to assist victims of crime.