Three firefighters honoured for bravery in rescue of U.S. boaters

KINGSVILLE — The Kingsville Fire Department has given bravery awards to three firefighters who were involved in the rescue of a trio of American boaters earlier this summer.

In a ceremony streamed Monday from the fire hall, awards were presented to south station captain Jeremy McHardy, his twin brother Jeffrey McHardy and Matthew Stewart.

Last September, the fire department sent a rescue boat with two firefighters aboard, Jeremy and Jeffrey McHardy, to aid three boaters whose craft was adrift in Lake Erie and headed dangerously close to a stone breakwall. A third firefighter, Stewart, waded into the lake and pulled one of the boaters ashore.

“The weather that morning was extreme wind conditions, heavy rains and complete darkness,” Deputy Fire Chief John Quennell said.

During the rescue the fire department boat capsized, forcing the firefighters to cling to the craft which ultimately drifted ashore.

“If not for their ability to stay calm and rely on their experience and training, there may have been a different outcome,” Quennell said.

“Right from the start they didn’t want recognition,” the deputy fire chief said later in an interview. “They said they’re part of a team and they wanted everybody recognized.

“(But) they stood out in the crowd.”

The wives of the three firefighters attended the presentation and received bouquets of flowers.

A week after the mishap, Chief Chuck Parson and Deputy Chief Jeff Dean went on indefinite leaves of absence. Dean has returned to active duty while Parson remains on leave.

Cut-off lighting measure aims to reduce glare

Also Monday, council passed a motion, sponsored by Coun. Laura Lucier, that requires the town to be dark sky compliant by installing cut-off lighting for any new or replacement lights at municipal buildings, parking lots, recreational facilities and lamp posts. It also calls for site plan controls which would require full cut-off street lighting for all future municipal roads.

Cut-off lights direct light downward, not up.

“One of biggest offenders right now are the greenhouse, but they’re not the only offender,” Lucier said in an interview.

She said a trip to Ruthven to view greenhouse light emissions was the tipping point for her.

“I was driving around … looking at the greenhouse lights and there’s a little subdivision in Ruthven where we’ve installed these decorative street posts. The glare and light from them was terrible. I thought we knew better than this. There are better options,” she said.

Lucier said the town is drafting a bylaw which will not only affect municipal light emissions, but outside lighting at homes, businesses and factories.

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