On Sunday one of our readers alerted us to a tragic series of events in Ontario. Firefighters from Napanee, a town of 16,000, were involved in two separate crashes over the weekened that left 13 people injured and killed the wife of a firefighter. It started on Saturday when five firefighters were returning from the FireFit Championships when their vehicle was involved in a collision near Woodstock.
It was the second crash, on Sunday, that proved deadly. That one involved a bus that the town had chartered to bring the injured firefighters home. Here are excerpts from an article by Liam Casey at thestar.com:
Concerned family members, along with Napanee Mayor Gordon Schermerhorn and Napanee fire chief Ian Shetler, chartered a bus to bring the firefighters home. Town councillor Bill Pierson joined Shetler on the trip while the mayor stayed behind.
The bus travelled to London to pick up the four firefighters who were released from hospital. The fifth, Kevin Duncan, with his wife now beside him, remained in hospital overnight with a neck injury and was unable to return with the group. The rest, which included Pierson, Shetler and firefighters David Goodfellow, Daniel Matthieu, Al Hatton and Joe Reid, hopped on the bus early Sunday morning ready for the five hour trip home.
About an hour later, the bus crashed into the guardrail on Highway 401 near Woodstock, jumped over it, and landed on its side on the grass around 6 a.m.
Darlene Goodfellow of Napanee was pronounced dead at the scene. Her husband, David, is a volunteer fireman with the Napanee Fire Department and suffered minor injuries. The couple have three children aged 13-19.
“She’s a woman that everybody would like the first time they met her,” Schermerhorn said.
The 12 others on the bus do not have life-threatening injuries, provincial police said.
“I’m not sure how we’re going to get them home, maybe by train, I don’t know,” Schermerhorn said.