A student from Red River College’s Creative Communications program has written a book exploring the fatal blaze that claimed the lives of two veteran Winnipeg fire captains in 2007.
This weekend, second-year student Lindsey Enns will launch Black Fire, an exploration of the deaths of Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) captains Tom Nichols and Harold Lessard, who were killed after they became trapped on the second floor of a burning home in St. Boniface.
Enns has been working on the book since June, and completed it as part of a year-long project required for graduation. The subject is one with which she’s intimately familiar: Enns’ father is a fellow WFPS captain, who was originally scheduled to work the same shift as his fallen comrades.
“His shift got switched, so he attended a different fire,” says Enns of her father. “He probably would have been inside the house if he had attended that fire.”
As part of her research, Enns interviewed five of the six surviving firefighters who were trapped and injured in the burning home, as well as firefighters’ union president Alex Forrest and then-WFPS Chief Jim Brennan.
“What I took away (from the interviews) is how emotional this subject still is for firefighters, and how it’s still affecting them, even five years later,” she says.
Enns was fortunate to strike a deal with Kromar Printing Ltd., who waived the nearly $4,000 in costs incurred by the initial print run of 500 copies. As a result, all proceeds from the sale of Black Fire will be donated to the Firefighters Burn Fund and the Harold Lessard Scholarship Fund.
The book’s launch takes place this Sat., Feb. 25, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., at the Fire Fighters Museum of Winnipeg, located at 56 Maple St.
The book is priced at $20; to order a copy, email Enns at email@example.com.