Close this search box.

Episode 35 – PART 1 Interview with Close Call Survivor Lionel Crowther

Crowther SpeakingThis episode is PART 1 of a two-part interview with Winnipeg Firefighter Lionel Crowther. Listen in as Firefighter Crowther recounts his close call survivor story about an incident where he sustained 2nd and 3rd degree burns and two of his comrades lost their lives while fighting a dwelling fire.


Length: 65 minutes
click the YouTube icon to listen




If you are interested in taking your understanding of situational awareness and high-risk decision making to a higher level, check out the Situational Awareness Matters Online Academy.
CLICK HERE for details, enrollment options and pricing.


Feb. 4, 2007, is the day that changed the lives of Lionel and Joanna Crowther forever. A firefighter with the Winnipeg, Manitoba, Fire Department, Lionel was off duty when he got called in for an overtime shift. Early into the shift his company, Engine 101 was dispatched to a reported residential dwelling fire.

Within minutes of responding to the call, a flashover occurred. Flames engulfed the entire house, trapping several firefighters on the second floor. Lionel managed to escape by jumping out of a second-story window.

When the smoke cleared and the flames were extinguished, two fire captains had been killed and four firefighters, including Lionel, were severely burned.

Some takeaways from the interview include:Crowther Burns

  1. Department members received RIT training but were not trained on how or when to call a mayday, a missing component that would prove critical to the outcome of this incident.
  2. The importance of being a student of every fire.
  3. The need to acknowledge our own weaknesses and see where we have opportunities to improve.
  4. The importance of not judging others, regardless of their opinions.
  5. The value of learning from LODD reports and near-miss reports.
  6. How many little mistakes add up and lead to catastrophe.Lioinel & Joanna Crowther
  7. How brain function changes under stress and how our apparent “common sense” will be non-existent.
  8. The impact of tragedy on family members.
  9. Tragic outcomes can happen to any of us… ANY of us!

CLICK HERE to access the Webcast on Situational Awareness

Our Sponsors:

Situational Awareness Matters
Branding Iron

Intro music
Safety Dance (1982)
Men Without Hats
GMC – Virgin Records


Firefighter Near Miss Reporting System

The mission of Situational Awareness Matters is simple: Help first responders see the bad things coming… in time to prevent bad outcomes.

Safety begins with SA! 

Share your comments on this article in the “Leave a Reply” box below. If you want to send me incident pictures, videos or have an idea you’d like me to research and write about, contact me. I really enjoy getting feedback and supportive messages from fellow first responders. It gives me the energy to work harder for you.



How to reach me…


Phone: 612-548-4424

Facebook Fan Page:

Twitter: @SAMatters

LinkedIn: Rich Gasaway

YouTube: SAMattersTV

iTunes: SAMatters Radio

Stitcher Radio: SAMatters Radio


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.