Firefighters honour three propane emergency responders for heroic action after Sunrise explosion

    TORONTO, May 13 /CNW/ - Three propane industry professionals are being
honoured by Toronto Fire Services for their actions in response to the Sunrise
Propane explosion last summer.
    As part of the Toronto Fire Services' Rescue and Merit Awards Ceremony
tomorrow, May 14, Dave Johnson, Mike Kavanagh and Dennis Smith will each
receive a Certificate of Commendation in recognition of civilian action at an
emergency incident.
    "We are very proud of these individuals, who showed great courage in very
challenging circumstances," said René Chartier of the Ontario Propane
Association. "They also reinforced the propane industry's commitment to public
safety - reacting quickly and effectively to a situation none of them had ever
encountered before."
    On August 10, 2008, Johnson, Kavanagh and Smith were called to the
Sunrise site to assist in defusing what was still an active fire scene.
Although the circumstances were unusual, their combined expertise enabled them
to determine a strategy to bring the situation under control.
    Acting on the propane experts' instructions, firefighters moved toward
two burning propane containers with hoses, followed by Johnson, Kavanagh and
Smith. Once the fire had been doused and the tanks sufficiently cooled, the
trio worked to close valves, plug leaks and empty the remaining propane
through a series of controlled burns - a process that kept them at the site
for more than 13 hours.
    The three recipients will be presented their Certificates of Commendation
- awarded for "a civilian's role during a rescue attempt where the act was
meritorious and the civilian faced significant personal danger" - by Fire
Chief William Stewart and Mayor David Miller in a ceremony tomorrow evening at
the Fire Academy, 895 Eastern Avenue.
    "This recognition is certainly welcomed by our industry," Chartier said.
    "Although incidents involving propane are extremely rare - and
investigations still have not determined the cause of the Sunrise explosion -
we have received much negative publicity. The fact is, our industry takes
safety very seriously and has a long-standing history of being extremely safe.
The three heroes honoured by Toronto Fire Services are a testament to the
propane industry's dedication to protecting the public," he said.
    The Ontario Propane Association intends to honour Johnson, Kavanagh and
Smith at its annual conference, June 10, 2009 at the Holiday Inn in Guelph.

    The Ontario Propane Association is the recognized voice of the propane
industry, representing the interests of propane retailers, transporters,
producers, wholesalers and suppliers to the industry.

For further information:

For further information: René Chartier, Ontario Propane Association,
(905) 469-1941,

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