Mtl fire dept. supporting family of firefighter who died while climbing mountain in Pakistan

The Montreal Fire Department said it's offering support to the family of a firefighter who fell to his death while climbing Pakistan's K-2 mountain.

Serge Dessureault had been leading an international mountaineering expedition when he died early Saturday while attempting to scale the more-than 86-hundred metre peak.

The 53-year-old was a 28-year veteran of the fire department, which describes Dessureault as a "firefighter who was fully committed to serving the Montreal community.''

It wasn't clear what caused the fall. 

Dessureault was stationed at station 19 in the Ville-Marie borough.

A makeshift memorial has been established and the station's flag was lowered in his honour.   

Yanick St-Martin, a fellow firefighter, said Dessureault had become a mentor to him after he expressed an interest in mountaineering.

He said Dessureault's "enormous soul'' and passion always shone through, whether he was fighting fires or climbing mountains.

"He showed great pride, a great compassion towards others and the sport, and he radiated courage all around him,'' St-Martin said in a phone interview from the Rocky Mountains, where he's training to attempt to climb Mount Everest next year.

He described Dessureault, who has previously summitted Everest, as a cautious climber who always advised him above all to remain alert to danger.

"He told me to take my time, and said it was always the mountain that had the last word,'' he said.

St-Martin said it wasn't always easy to explain why a climber would want to climb K2, which is among the world's most difficult, dangerous peaks.

"It's surpassing yourself, accomplishment, and what we forget is the spirituality behind it,'' he said.

"It's not just conquering a mountain, it's conquering oneself.''


-With files from the Canadian Press and The Associated Press