Firefighter dies from line-of-duty illness
A Brampton firefighter diagnosed with leukemia that was determined to be linked to his job died this morning. He was 37.
Shane McCready, 37, was an acting captain with Brampton Fire and Emergency Services. He died after a long battle with job-related leukemia this morning.
A Brampton firefighter diagnosed with leukemia that was determined to be linked to his job died this morning.
He was 37.
Shane McCready will be buried in a full fire service Line of Duty Death funeral in Brampton Tuesday, according to Brampton Fire and Emergency Services Chief Andy MacDonald. The WSIB determined McCready’s acute myeloid leukemia was a line of duty illness resulting from his more than 16 years service as a firefighter.
"A wonderful guy," MacDonald told The Guardian. "He was an amazing young man. He was very popular and very active in curling."
He said a large crowd is expected at Bramalea Baptist Church at 1 p.m. Tuesday for his funeral. Hundreds of firefighters from services all over the GTA and beyond are expected.
“Shane was a vibrant and valued member of the Brampton Fire and Emergency Services team,” according to a statement issued by MacDonald earlier today. “His positive outlook, contagious smile and never-ending ‘can-do’ attitude made him a welcomed addition to his crew, most recently as a member of the Squad 203 crew on ‘C’ shift.”
He was also an accomplished curler and had represented Brampton Fire and Emergency Services at several provincial and national curling competitions.
He was diagnosed with the illness, a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes abnormal myeloblasts (a type of white blood cell), red blood cells or platelets, last December, just weeks after he got engaged to his fiance, Kelly King, and bought a house in the country, in the Niagara Region.
Born in St. Catharines, he grew up in Niagara Falls and served first as a volunteer firefighters in the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake before joining Brampton fire in 2003.
Despite being very ill, he successfully completed his qualifications to become an acting fire captain this year.
“Today, the Brampton Fire and Emergency Services family lost one of our own and Shane will be sadly missed,” MacDonald said in the statement.
MacDonald said McCready's cancer is one of eight recognized by the WSIB as line-of-duty illnesses.
He said while McCready's death wasn't a "total shock", his colleagues have been shaken by his death.
"It's the dangers of our profession, the things we breathe and ingest," MacDonald said. "It serves as a reminder how important it is to use the proper personal protection equipment."
He said there was not major "benchmark" exposure to blame McCready's death on, just accumulative exposure.
"We're very careful and we fill out exposure reports at every call," he said. "You never know which fire, which smoke, which bit of water that just ran down your collar exposes you... It's difficult to pinpoint it."
"We all recognize the dangers of the job," MacDonald said.
McCready received more than 130 units of blood throughout the course of his treatments, and fellow firefighters rallied around him recently with a blood donor clinic planned for this Monday in Niagara Falls. In his honour, fellow firefighters registered with Canadian Blood Services’ Partners for Life program (where an organization, business or group commits to an annual blood donation pledge).
The funeral will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday at Bramalea Baptist Church, 9050 Dixie Rd. However, firefighters from departments all over are expected to attend, so staging will start at the Brampton Soccer Centre at 10:30 a.m. and firefighters will likely be transported by bus to the church, according to City of Brampton officials.
With files from Metroland News Service