First Responders Mourn Loss Of Windsor Firefighter

Windsor firefighters are still in shock after losing one of their own in an off-duty incident in Collingwood.

Provincial police believe 25-year-old Wesley Orr fell to his death while trying to climb the side of a building at Blue Mountain Resort early Friday morning.

Windsor Fire and Rescue Service Chief Stephen Laforet tells AM800 News everyone is trying to come to grips with losing Orr so suddenly.
 
"It really pounds home how fragile everyone is and certainly our firefighters face risks everyday — anytime something like this happens with a young person, whether they're a young firefighter or not it's just hard to believe and it's difficult to deal with," he says. "In the next few days we're really going to work with our Critical Incident Support Team to ensure that people know that they have avenues of support whether it's inside the organization or outside the organization."

He says Orr exemplified all the qualities you'd want to see in a firefighter.

"He truly cared about people that came through on every call that he went on ... he was a pleasure to work with and I've heard nothing but great things about him since the time he's been with us," says Laforet.

An outpouring of support made the rounds on social media in the aftermath of the announcement, something Laforet says helps soften the blow.

"It really is comforting to know that all of your peers are supportive ... we know that, when they send these messages of support, they're sincere and they're absolutely there for us if we need anything," he says. "Certainly, we feel the same way when any of our partners experience a tragedy; we reach out to them to see what we can do."

Windsor Professional Firefighters Association President Keith Traquair looked to 2019 during a conversation he had with Orr on New Year's Eve — a smile while reminiscing quickly dropped as the gravity of the situation seemed to re-enter his mind.

"This hasn't happened all that much, he's 25, was going to be 26 ... this is something we would see 50-years from now at 75. We have to deal with it," says an emotional Traquair. "We'll sit around the table, some people will cry, some people will laugh, it's a whole circle on how we deal with it. We're going to lean on each other and by leaning on each other we'll be able to move forward."

The Tecumseh native was hired in 2016, he was about to reach his first-class ranking in April.

A service will be held at Windsor Chapel, but a time and date has yet to be set.

Police say Orr's death remains under investigation and an autopsy will be performed.