Hawkins-Gignac Foundation donates CO and Smoke Alarms to Middlesex Centre


John Gignac, executive director of the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education, visited Middlesex Centre Fire Services on January 13, 2022, to donate First Alert carbon monoxide (CO) and smoke alarms. The donation of 52 of each type of alarm, along with public education materials on CO, was shared with the Strathroy-Caradoc Fire Department.

Mr. Gignac is a retired fire fighter of 34 years and the uncle of Laurie Hawkins, an Ontario Provincial Police constable who perished from CO poisoning along with her husband and two children in 2008 at their Woodstock, Ontario home. The exhaust vent from their gas fireplace became blocked, leaking the poisonous gas back into the home.

Ever since that terrible family tragedy, the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation has been working across Canada, generating awareness about the ‘Silent Killer’ and donating CO alarms.

“You can’t see, smell or taste CO,” comments Mr. Gignac. “The only way you can know if the deadly gas is in your home is if you have installed working CO alarms.”

Under Ontario law, homes must have a working CO alarm adjacent to each sleeping area if you have a fuel-burning appliance, a fireplace or an attached garage. It is a good practice to test CO alarms monthly.

“We thank John, the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation and First Alert for this generous donation,” says Middlesex Centre Fire Chief Colin Toth. “MCFS will distribute them on an as-needed basis to help ensure all homes in our community have access to these critical safety devices.”


Photo (left to right): Brent Smith, SCFD; Colin Toth, MCFS; John Gignac, Hawkins-Gignac Foundation