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Comment: Mourning our Losses

Mourning our Losses

December 11, 2007 
By James Haley

The tragic death of fire Capt. Marcel Marleau of the Montreal fire service occurred as we were finishing the production of this edition. He was killed Jan. 21 in the line of duty.

As we report on page 6, Capt. Marleau, a decorated 28-year veteran of the department and father of two, led a team to investigate complaints from residents that they smelled smoke in the building on Langelier Blvd. in the city’s north end. Just after 3:30 a.m. they found a sofa in a first-floor apartment that appeared to be burning and started to ventilate the room when it flashed over. His team was able to escape but Marleau succumbed to his injuries.

Once again, the fire fighting community has been forced to grieve the loss of one of our own, reminding us of the inherent dangers of the profession and the vigilance we must maintain to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

We also mourn the deaths of two important figures in the fire service, Doug Lion, Chief of Operations for the Montreal fire service’s First Responder Division, and the legendary Francis “Frank” Brannigan of Calverton, Maryland.


Francis L. “Frank” Brannigan, author and expert in building construction as it relates to fire fighting, passed away at his home in early January. He was 87. Best known for his book, Building Construction for the Fire Service, Third Edition, Brannigan was a much respected expert who regularly wrote and spoke on the dangers of building collapse when exposed to fire. His message was always, “The building is your enemy. Know your enemy. Know your enemy!” His legacy to us is his expertise and deep passion for the safety of fire fighters, through his book, his numerous articles and lectures.

Douglas Lion, passed away suddenly at Kangiqsujuaq, Nunavik, in northern Quebec on Dec. 2, 2005, where he was teaching a fire fighting program to members of the Cree community. He was just 50. Lion was an earnest and enthusiastic man who spent much of his career educating the public and colleagues in fire prevention and fire fighter safety. He will be missed by all who had the good fortune in knowing him.

This edition features our annual Buyers’ Guide, a comprehensive listing and guide to manufacturers and distributors of products and services for the fire and emergency services field in Canada. It includes up-to-date contact information on companies as well as their product lines. Special thanks goes to Annex sales assistant Barb Comer who compiled these listings for Fire Fighting In Canada. For details on how to be included in future editions, please contact our publisher Martin McAnulty, 1-888-599-2228, extension 252, e-mail

Yours in fire service safety and education,
James Haley

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