CORNWALL, Ontario – How South Glengarry firefighter Randy Robertson survived a harrowing rollover accident on Highway 401 Saturday is anyone’s guess – except his.
“He told me our nephew Alexander was watching over him,” said Robertson’s wife Debbie Julien on Sunday, barely 24 hours after Robertson was nearly killed while responding in a fire truck to another accident on the busy provincial thoroughfare.
Alexander is better known to readers as Alex ‘The Warrior’ Lazore – a little cancer fighter who sadly succumbed to the disease a week before Christmas.
“He and Randy were very, very close,” said Julien. “How he survived that mess…I don’t know.”
A mess indeed. The tanker truck Robertson was driving rolled multiple times on a snowy Saturday morning. He was left partially hanging from the vehicle which appears nearly destroyed in images shared with this newspaper.
His injuries read like a laundry list of life-threatening ailments: a collapsed lung, broken shoulder, broken collar bone, broken vertebrae, internal bleeding and a deep gash on his head. A chest tube has also been inserted.
Doctors, who have informed Julien that her husband is expected to recover, are expected to make a decision on surgery concerning his badly injured back.
“I’m just thankful he’s alive,” said Julien. “They’re keeping him very medicated due to the pain in the ribs and the collarbone. They will be installing a morphine pump this afternoon.
“He’s laying flat on his back and cannot be moved. He’s had nothing to eat since yesterday morning because we’re still not sure if they’re going to do surgery.”
The rallying cry has already been sounded, and messages of support are flowing in for a man who just recently was named the top firefighter in South Glengarry.
“Station 4 has been very supportive they’ve been calling and texting and sending lots of love and prayers,” said Julien, who added Robertson is conscious, and in pain. “He’s got a long road ahead of him.
“Mostly he’s been saying ‘I’m in pain’ and ‘Where’s the doctor?'”
Poor weather conditions have been attributed to the crash, at around 8 a.m., that severely injured Robertson.
“The road conditions were very slippery…causing the fire truck tanker from Station 4 in Lancaster to roll over while responding to an accident along Highway 401,” said Fire Chief Vic Leroux. “The firefighter involved in the accident was operating the tanker and was the only occupant of the vehicle.”
Robertson was initially transported to the Cornwall Community Hospital. Doctors had planned to send him by air to Ottawa, but poor weather conditions scuttled that idea and instead he was driven. He is now in the trauma unit at the Ottawa Civic Hospital.
“On behalf of the Township of South Glengarry, our thoughts are with the firefighter and his family at this time,” said Mayor Ian McLeod. “We are wishing him a full and quick recovery and thank all of our fire department for their dedication to keeping our residents and community safe.”