The Yukon loses an altruistic tire man

Denis Chabot was killed at work on Tuesday. "It's ironic, because he gave 110 per cent at work and believed in what he was doing," said his friend Julie Menard. "He was always willing to help people.

Denis Chabot was killed at work on Tuesday.

“It’s ironic, because he gave 110 per cent at work and believed in what he was doing,” said his friend Julie Menard.

“He was always willing to help people.”

The 34-year-old was working on a large vehicle in the back lot at Integra Tire when that vehicle “was set in motion,” said RCMP Sgt. Don Rogers. “Someone else set it in motion.

“Chabot was severely injured at the scene and taken to Whitehorse General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.”

It’s the Yukon’s fourth workplace death this year, said Yukon Workers’ Compensation, Health and Safety Board director Kurt Dieckmann.

“That’s getting high.”

A 34-year-old man should not go to work and not come home, said Ramesh Ferris, his friend.

“And I hope we use the death of my good friend to educate people on the importance of following occupational health and safety regulations,” he said.

“Every Yukoner should be able to go to the workplace and come back to friends and family after a long, hard day’s work.”

Chabot was very loyal to his place of employment, added Ferris.

“He always had a big smile, was full of life and went above and beyond to help anyone.”

Chabot was “a person who would walk a mile to help someone,” agreed Menard.

He was a kind soul and touched a lot of people’s lives with his work, she said.

“Even though some people may not have realized it.

“A lot of people just think these are guys who change tires. They don’t realize they’re risking their lives to do it.”

Chabot loved his trade and enjoyed work, she said.

He was very devoted to his friends and the community, said Chabot’s pastor Claude Gosselin.

“When people needed something Denis was always ready to help, and would be there from the first hour to the last one.”

Chabot also loved living in the Yukon, he said.

“He loved nature and the outdoors.”

That’s how Trevor Mead-Robins met the avid adventurer.

“We were both on White Mountain on the same day,” he said.

“I was paragliding on one side of the mountain and Denis was doing some extreme climbing on the other.”

The two men didn’t realize they’d been on the same mountain at the same time, until they met in Whitehorse’s emergency room that evening.

Mead-Robins had broken his left foot and Chabot had broken his right.

“We were in the same room at the same time, and that’s how we became friends,” he said.

Hearing that Chabot was gone got Mead-Robins thinking about life.

“Day-to-day activities, like going for a walk or going to work, can be life-changing or life-ending,” he said.

“We need to make time to enjoy friends and family, because life can change any day.”

A memorial has been set up at Integra Tire to remember Chabot. Cards and artificial flowers left at the tire shop will be given to Chabot’s family when they arrive in early December. A funeral will also be held early next month.

The Yukon coroner’s office, the RCMP and the Yukon Workers’ Compensation, Health and Safety Board are investigating his death.

“There is no criminality,” said Rogers. “It is just an unfortunate, tragic accident.”

As soon as the safety board has a clearer picture of what happened it will make its findings public, said Dieckmann.

“One workplace death is one too many.”

Ferris hopes Chabot’s death will bring the community together.

“We need to show our support to prevent workplace injuries or deaths,” he said.

Chabot wanted to bring something to the community, and he touched a lot of people, added Gosselin.

“The lasting memory many will have of Chabot is his smile.”

Contact Genesee Keevil at