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When reality hits close to home: A firefighter’s worst nightmare.

Nelson Daily Staff
By Nelson Daily Staff
August 10th, 2011

When the on duty acting captain for Nelson Fire Rescue received a call from his frantic wife last Thursday that she and their two children were involved in a serious car crash near the Taghum Bridge, his heart froze.

Although she reported that they were all okay, the captain could hear his children screaming and crying in the background.

Shortly thereafter, the fire dispatch centre received numerous calls reporting a serious car crash involving two vehicles and at least six people. Both the acting captain and an on-duty firefighter responded to the scene in engine two.

Both vehicles involved in the incident had left the road and one was mounted precariously on the train tracks, obstructing rail traffic.

“This is a firefighter’s worst nightmare and during my 35 years with the department I know all too well the gut wrenching number of times that first responders working in small communities respond to their own family emergencies,” said fire chief Simon Grypma.

Fire dispatch was requested to contact CP Rail’s emergency line to stop all rail traffic that may have been traveling through the area. Engine two was then directed to assess the vehicle on the shoulder of the road where the captain’s wife and two children were.

The captain attended to his wife’s cuts and bruises while the firefighter attended to the four occupants of the minivan. Within minutes of the fire department members arriving on the scene, BC Ambulance arrived and also attended to the patients.

After the initial assessments of the seven people and the condition of both vehicles, it was clear that a major tragedy had been averted. Initial reports indicate the minivan had crossed the centre line and side swiped the car driven by the captain’s wife. Her quick reaction to the oncoming vehicle averted a head-on crash.

The captain’s wife and two children were transported to Kootenay Lake Hospital where they were treated for minor injuries. One patient from the second vehicle also attended at the hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

Chief Grypma had responded to the scene in the command one truck. Chief Grypma arrived on scene and assumed incident command, reporting the initial scene assessment to the responding units and fire dispatch.

Police were also on scene directing the busy highway traffic.

“As the chief, I am very proud to see and report the actions of our firefighters during these incidents,” he said.

Please note that the names of the parties involved have been left out intentionally for privacy of the family.

Categories: General

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