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St. Thomas, Ont. firefighter identified as victim of fatal motorcycle crash in Central Elgin

FILE PHOTO. Stelsone via Getty Images

A firefighter with the St. Thomas Fire Department has been identified as the victim of a fatal motorcycle crash just outside the city Thursday evening.

Nicholas Cheeseman, 34, of Port Stanley, Ont. was identified on Friday by Elgin County OPP as the victim of the collision, which occurred around 8:30 p.m. at the intersection of Elm Street and Coulter Avenue in Central Elgin, just east of the St. Thomas city limits.

According to investigators, Cheeseman had been travelling west on Elm when he collided with an SUV which was making a left turn onto Coulter.

Police say he was pronounced dead at the scene.

In a Facebook post Friday afternoon, officials with the City of St. Thomas, Ont. identified Cheeseman as a member of the city’s fire department.

“The City of St. Thomas extends our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of 1st Class Fire Fighter Nicholas Cheeseman, and to all members of our St. Thomas Fire Department who are impacted by his loss,” the post read.

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Read more: West Region OPP stress importance of motorcycle safety amid jump in fatal collisions

Speaking with Global News, Kim Detsun, chief fire prevention officer, said the news came as a shock to the close-knit department.

“It’s been really sudden and shocking. It’s been devastating for us. We’re just there to support the family in anyway we can,” she said.

“We’re still kind of processing it. We got the news late last night. We have counselling in place if anybody needs it, but right now we’re just supporting each other and getting our way through it.”

A GoFundMe has been set up by Cheeseman’s brother, Ryan, to raise funds in support of the 34-year-old’s wife and five-month-old son.

“Nick was an accomplished Firefighter with the St. Thomas Fire Department and his life was stolen from us,” the GoFundMe description reads. “This is for Nick’s wife and baby boy to ensure that their future is as bright and secure as possible.”

The collision which claimed Cheeseman’s life came hours after West Region OPP held a news conference to call attention to road safety amid a jump in fatal motorcycle collisions this year.

At least 13 motorcyclists have now died in collisions in West Region so far this year, up from seven reported during the same period in 2021.

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“People need to be paying attention to what’s happening around on the roads,” Const. Derek Rogers said on Friday. “It’s critical that you maintain that awareness factor if you want to get where you’re going safely.”

Provincial police say the investigation into Thursday’s crash is ongoing.

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