The applause kept going at Barrie City Hall Monday night, for some first responders’ efforts during a fiery crash on the 400. Monday night’s council meeting saw members of the Barrie Fire and Emergency Service, along with the Georgian Central Ambulance Communication Centre, get kudos from council for winning a Public Safety Communications Joint Team Award from the County of Simcoe this year. The Communications Branch staff members, Heather Ardley-Mercer, Justin Gilbert, Amanda Balch and Melissa Deneau, were recognized for their efforts in responding to a fiery crash on the 400 last Hallowe’en.
The collision happened around 11:30 on October 31 and claimed three lives. Ten fire services from Simcoe County and York Region responded to the collision that closed the highway for a prolonged period, while the communicators stayed at their post the whole time, even during other emergency calls. The 14-vehicle pileup closed a stretch of the highway for over a day, after the OPP report a tanker had slammed into the rear of another vehicle that was slowing due to an earlier collision ahead.
The four communicators from Barrie Fire and Georgian CACC were first recognized by the County of Simcoe during a special ceremony in early April, the 11th Annual Simcoe County Tri-Service Public Safety Communications Awards, that recognizes unsung heroes such as call-takers, dispatchers and supervisors within the emergency response system.