Witnesses shaken by firefighter's sudden death
Published Saturday, July 14, 2012 5:20PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, July 14, 2012 6:19PM EDT
Spiridon Tomaras can’t get Thierry Godfrind’s death out of his mind.
He tried to stop it, but it was too late.
“I screamed, ‘Be careful!’ And I started to cry. Honestly, I started to cry right away, and I heard the noise. Boom!” he said, recalling the horrifying scene he witnessed Friday afternoon.
Tomaras was standing outside his home near the corner of Dutrisac St. and Henri Bourassa Blvd. in St. Laurent when a small residential kitchen fire broke out about 4:30 p.m. Godfrind, a 39-year-old firefighter was fatally struck by a fire truck as it reversed.
Tomaras and his neighbours watched as Godfrind’s colleagues desperately tried to save his life.
“They gave him some oxygen… and when I saw him, I said, ‘This guy, he’s in critical situation,” said Mahboub Teberbi
Originally from Saint-Lin-des-Laurentides, Godfrind was a firefighter from Station 42 in Ahuntsic-Cartierville. He was the first firefighter to die on duty since Marcel Marleau died fighting a fire in Montreal North in January 2006.
News of his death impacted Wilma Mansaya, who lives in a nearby apartment.
“All of us in this building, we said a prayer for that person, though we don't know him, but he is a person like us – a human being like us. We feel so sorry for him,” said Mansaya
Those affected most, though, were Godfrind’s colleagues and friends.
Police say two firefighters were treated for shock after witnessing the incident, and support services are also being made available to the rest of the crew.
Firefighters’ union the Association des Pompiers de Montreal issued a statement on Godfrind’s sudden death.
“Montreal firefightersare in mourning. We lost one of ours. We are overwhelmed. Our first thoughts are with the family, relatives and colleagues of the victim,” said union president Ronald Martin in a statement.
Godfrind’s family has not yet decided whether to hold a civic or private funeral.