A Sarnia courtroom was filled with blue uniforms as 40 Wyoming firefighters came to show their support for a volunteer charged after an icy accident on the 402.
Last March, the Wyoming department was called out to the highway for an accident; on the way they were caught in the middle of a pile up with dozens of other cars and transports. Five men were injured and two trucks were totaled.
Firefighter Neil Bain was the only person charged in the pileup.
Bain, who was the most seriously injured in the accident, was in court Monday for pretrial and his colleagues came out to show support.
“About 40 guys showed up,” says Chief Mike Vasey. “They were overwhelmed as far as the family is concerned; they were shocked so many people showed up. Judy (Bain’s wife) was in tears.”
Vasey says the local department wanted to show the Bains they’re still standing with them as they deal with the careless driving charge.
And he says the Wyoming department is not the only group watching to see the outcome of the charges. “The Chiefs’ Association of Ontario is interested and the Volunteer Association, the same thing,” says Vasey. “This is going to have a trickle down affect either way – if we win or lose.
“How eager are we going to be to jump and drive the fire truck if that’s the ramification?”
And Vasey believes the charges – which he has said from the beginning were politically motivated – may already be having a chilling effect among volunteers who are questioning why they would help. “The perception is were going to come and get you – no matter what trouble you’re in someone is going to come and get you,” says Vasey. “What if no one comes to get you?”
“For volunteer firefighters, this is the potential that you have to go through.”
Bain will return to court March 23. He has yet to return to work as recovers from his wrist injury.