London firefighters awarded bravery medals for actions at building collapse

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By Robin MacLennan

Ontario Construction Report staff writer

Several City of London firefighters have been awarded Ontario Medals of Bravery for their actions at a building collapse in the city in December 2020.

Captain Ron Vermeltfoort, acting captain Andrew Cadieux, firefighter James Ferraro, and firefighter Stephen Hilton were recognized for being the first responders on scene to implement life-saving actions at the partial building collapse at 555 Teeple Terrace on Dec. 11, 2020.

“Every day we have the privilege of working with dedicated and professional staff in the delivery of fire services to the residents of London. From time to time, extraordinary incidents arise that require extraordinary efforts in the face of adversity to ensure the safety of those in need, said Acting Fire Chief Richard Hayes.

“Today, as acting fire chief, it was an honour to witness the awarding of the Firefighter Medal of Bravery by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Elizabeth Dowdeswell to eleven of our brave firefighters. This medal is reserved for those who conduct their work in adverse situations putting themselves at great risk.”

Her Honour the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario presented the medals at Queen’s Park in Toronto. The Medal of Bravery was created in 1976 to recognize acts of bravery in hazardous circumstances.

Captain Randy Evans, Captain Dave Smith, Senior Qualified Firefighter Simon Mackintosh, Firefighter Apparatus Operator Matt Davis, Firefighter Alex Clements, Firefighter Ryan Kruk, and Firefighter Thomas Wenhardt received medals for their life-saving actions at an explosion at 450 Woodman Avenue on Aug. 14, 2019.

“On behalf of London city council, and all Londoners, our deepest thanks for your selfless and live-saving actions at these two devastating and life altering incidents that affected our whole city.” said Mayor Josh Morgan. “It is most fitting these firefighters are recognized today for their brave and selfless action and is also a poignant reminder of how fortunate we are as Londoners to have such dedicated and brave members working to keep us safe – each and every day.

“We must also acknowledge and recognize the families of all London firefighters for sharing these heroes with our community on a daily basis.”

In April a tree-planting ceremony was held in honour of Henry Harder, 26, and John Martens, 21. The employees of a Tillsonburg concrete company died when the building they were working on at 555 Teeple Terrace in London collapsed while concrete was being poured on an upper floor.

Harder’s and Martens’s families and friends attended the ceremony to plant two red oak trees in their names on the grounds of the London and District Construction Association.

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