CANADA – One man has died while fighting a forest fire in Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette on Sunday, but police say his death does not appear to be fire-related.
He has been identified at Isaiah Nottaway, 32, from Kitigan Zibi, and he was working along with firefighters from the Société de protection des forêts contre le feu (SOPFEU).
Nottaway went into convulsions for unknown reasons, and was taken to hospital in Buckingham but died there. He was 32.
MRC des Collines police announced Monday that “for the moment, nothing in the investigation suggests that there could be any connection with the work (of fighting the fire) but the inquiry will continue with the goal of finding the causes and circumstances of the death.”
SOPFEU added on Monday: “Mr. Isaiah Nottaway was a 32-year-old firefighter employed by the Algonquin community of Kitigan Zibi. This community has been an important partner of SOPFEU for more than 20 years. It provides auxiliary labor that supports the work of SOPFEU’s firefighters. The work of these firefighters is essential to ensure the SOPFEU’s ability to intervene throughout Québec.
“The young worker lost consciousness (but) causes are unknown at the moment.”
These workers are trained by SOPFEU, the agency added.
The Quebec agency that oversees workplace health and safety has been informed but has not sent anyone to the scene.
Cathy Elliott Morneau, a prevention officer with SOPFEU, said nine people were fighting the fire on the ground along with a water tanker and three water bombers.
By Monday afternoon the five-hectare fire was contained but not yet extinguished. The fire started Saturday around 2 p.m. and the cause is still unknown.