An evening dispatcher at the Gilmyr transport company in Montmagny, Pierre Thibault had just told the truckers of the company not to take the road because of the bad Road conditions. A few hours later, he died with his colleague Mickael Fiset after the van in which they were taking place had been buried under the snow during the blizzard.
“I talked to Pierre at 6 pm [Tuesday] when I saw that it was not really good. I asked him what I was doing and he told me he was giving me leave, to go home, “said truck driver Michel Proulx, met by Le Soleil in Gilmyr parking lot.
The one who has been working at Gilmyr for 14 years has not finally taken the road to Montreal as he normally should. The fate unfortunately struck Pierre Thibault and Mickael Fiset as they returned home together after completing their evening shift.
Their car got bogged down in the snow on Main Street in Saint-Pierre-de-la-Rivière-du-Sud, and soon found itself completely buried in the blizzard. Mickael made calls to help friends and contacted the Sûreté du Québec at about 11:30 pm, explaining that he was stuck in the snow, that his colleague Pierre was having an asthma attack and that he was having difficulty To breathe.
Even the SQ
But even this last emergency call did not save the two unfortunate colleagues caught in the storm of the year. Police and ambulance personnel were unable to locate and locate them in time due to extreme weather conditions. Even the SQ snowmobilers got bogged down in the snow and had to crawl and try in vain to dig into the snow with their arms.
A mechanical shovel had to be used around 6:00 am on Wednesday morning to dislodge the vehicle, the two occupants of which had died. The operation however allowed to locate three other cars buried in the same area whose occupants could be cleared unharmed.
“My spouse works for human resources at Gilmyr, so I learned early this morning for Pierre and Mickael. It strikes, to learn that they died after an adventure like this. They were two good guys, “continues Michel Proulx.
The company was in crisis management due to the storm Wednesday morning and speakers will be present at Gilmyr Thursday morning in order to meet employees who would need psychological support in the aftermath of the tragedy.
Originally from Quebec City and aged in his forties, Pierre Thibault had been working at Gilmyr for about five years, while Mickael Fiset, a resident of Saint-François-de-la-Rivière-du-Sud in his thirties, To the warehouse.
“Mick?” It’s not true! It was he who loaded us! “Spontaneously launched Danny, another trucker, when he learned the identity of the victims. “I can not believe it! And Pierre, I knew him too. When we arrived in the evening, we had to deal with them. ”
On Gilmyr’s Facebook page, friends were sorry for the sad fate of Pierre and Mickael on Wednesday night. Marcel Saint-Pierre would have liked to help them, but like police officers, ambulance drivers and snow-plowers, he was unable to go there.
“I talked with them several times that night, they were caught on the road between me and the 20. I tried to help them, but I was not able to go. Pierre was out of breath, “wrote Saint-Pierre.
Infernal Day on the Roads of the MRC de Montmagny
The night of Tuesday to Wednesday and the day of Wednesday were squarely infernal on the roads of the MRC of Montmagny. Policemen, paramedics, even snow-plowers were unable to clear their way on the snow-covered roads where snow accumulations were sometimes ten feet high.
“Around 10 pm on Tuesday, we told the snowmakers to go home. It did not give anything, they were sliding towards the ditches, the visibility was nil and they were unable to pass, “says the mayor of Saint-Pierre-de-la-Rivière-du-Sud, Alain Fortier, Where Pierre Thibault and Mickael Fiset died in their van.
“At 4 am [Wednesday], I received a call from the SQ to send a snow removal truck, but there was nothing to do, the truck did not pass. The snow banks were too high. I went out of my way to get a blower without success. We managed to get a mechanical shovel around 6 o’clock to clear them, “continues Mr. Fortier.
The mayor has difficulty in explaining why the two employees of Gilmyr Transport died when they were stuck in an area where there were a few houses.
“Some say they would have knocked at the door of a house where there was no one. But the other residents of the area say they have not received any visits other than the police officers trying to rescue these people, “continues the mayor.
Subcontractors to the rescue
Early on Wednesday morning, once the cars were stalled, the mayor and general manager Karine Lachance set out to clear the streets of the village of 900 inhabitants.
“In addition to our three employees, we hired subcontractors, so that around 2:00 pm, almost every street was cleared,” says Lachance. However, it was not easy to get to the village from Lévis or Quebec City, with all main roads closed and many rural roads impassable due to snow.
Jacob, whose employer was hired as a subcontractor by the municipality of Saint-Pierre, cleared the main street with his tractor equipped with a blower without stopping for more than 12 hours Wednesday.
“It took me two hours to get from Montmagny to Saint-Pierre,” he says about the 20-kilometer journey. “The snow blades were higher than the front of my tractor.”
Mayor Fortier does not hesitate to describe this storm as the worst to have fallen on his municipality since 2008.
In addition, as indicated by Executive Director Karine Lachance, communications were made difficult during much of the day due to breakdowns on the networks of certain telephone service providers, including Videotron.