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Cause of Eastway Tank explosion still under investigation 1 year later

Cause of Eastway Tank explosion still under investigation 1 year later

The reason for the explosion that left six Eastway Tank staff lifeless stays below investigation one 12 months later, at the same time as the corporate already faces provincial fees alleging it didn’t take affordable steps to maintain employees secure.

Emergency crews in Ottawa have been referred to as to the tanker producer and servicer’s property at 1995 Merivale Rd. within the early afternoon of Jan. 13, 2022, to reply to the blast and fireplace. 

Eastway staff Kayla Ferguson, Rick Bastien, Etienne Mabiala, Danny Beale and Russell McLellan died that day. A sixth worker, Matt Kearney, died in hospital a day later in what grew to become often called town’s deadliest office incident in a few years. 

Final Friday, Ontario’s Ministry of Labour charged the corporate and its proprietor, Neil Greene, with a complete of six alleged offences below the province’s Occupational Well being and Security Act.

Clockwise from prime left: Matt Kearney, Etienne Mabiala, Danny Beale, Rick Bastien, Russell McLellan and Kayla Ferguson have been killed by an explosion and fireplace on Jan. 13, 2022, at Eastway Tank, Pump and Meter Ltd., a tanker truck producer in south Ottawa. (Submitted images)

Extra lately, the Workplace of the Fireplace Marshal — the provincial company centered on figuring out the trigger, origin and circumstances of the explosion — instructed CBC it’s ready on take a look at outcomes from proof samples because it continues to work towards a conclusion.

The workplace issued an emailed assertion earlier this week saying it “appreciates how onerous this time is for the households who misplaced family members final January and our ideas are with them.”

Just like the Ottawa Police Service, which continues its prison investigation into the Eastway blast, the fireplace marshal’s workplace doesn’t have a deadline to complete its work. 

In September, the fireplace marshal’s lead investigator on the incident mentioned his workplace was right down to “a pair hypotheses,” including the Eastway explosion concerned many extra items of proof to research than most fireplace scenes.

‘They have been superb folks’ 

An online web page linked to Eastway’s principal web site was up to date earlier this week with a message attributed to Greene, alongside a beforehand uploaded digital plaque honouring the six lifeless staff. 

“Because the one-year anniversary of the tragedy approaches, I stay heartbroken over the lack of Rick, Danny, Kayla, Matt, Etienne and Russ,” the message learn. 

“They have been superb folks. I can’t think about how troublesome this anniversary is for his or her households. My honest condolences. … They continue to be in my each day ideas and prayers.”

This digital plaque is featured on a web site referred to as (

Greene has not responded to a number of requests for remark over the previous week.

Prices contain widespread process: knowledgeable

Eastway and Greene every face three equivalent fees below the Occupational Well being and Security Act. The allegations haven’t been confirmed in provincial offences court docket, which is scheduled to first tackle the case on Feb. 17.

Within the first cost, the Ministry of Labour alleges Eastway failed to make sure the method of loading and “moist testing” a truck was carried out in an space freed from potential sources of ignition. 

Moist testing is a quite common process that entails loading a tanker with diesel or gasoline as a way to calibrate gear throughout the tanker, mentioned Chris Revers, who managed a tank manufacturing plant in Alberta for 16 years earlier than extra lately forming his personal cell tank inspection firm. 

Revers has no information of Eastway particularly, however as a substitute spoke concerning the technical phrases used within the ministry’s fees. 

Eastway Tank interior photo
The inside of Eastway is proven on this undated photograph provided by a former worker. (Submitted)

The second cost alleges Eastway didn’t take “a number of” precautions, which incorporates making certain the tank of the identical truck “didn’t comprise and was freed from gasoline or some other flammable liquid or substance whereas work and/or testing able to being a supply of potential ignition was going down on or close to the truck.”

Revers mentioned this allegation accuses Eastway of engaged on a “sizzling truck” — an allegation beforehand made by a number of former Eastway staff who spoke to CBC after the explosion.

These staff additionally alleged different examples of an unsafe work atmosphere, together with improper storage of flammable chemical compounds and earlier fires. 

Greene on the time referred to as these allegations “unfounded.”

The second cost additionally accuses Eastway of “splash” loading or filling gasoline into the truck.

“This technique is when the motive force or firm opens the lid on prime of the tank and simply pumps product into the opening with no management, so the product simply splashes all around the tank, spilling on the tank [and] creating a hearth or explosion hazard,” Revers mentioned by way of e mail.

“Many firms that work on tankers or development firms don’t fill from refineries. As an alternative, they splash load, which might be extra typical than anybody would really like.”

The third cost alleges Eastway didn’t correctly instruct employees on secure gasoline storage and dealing with procedures.

Eastway Tank site January 9 2023
Light images left practically a 12 months in the past stay on the Eastway website. The household of sufferer Rick Bastien, seen within the higher images, says it plans to depart behind contemporary flowers on Friday. (Patrick Louiseize/Radio Canada)

Light images of the victims and different mementos have remained on the Eastway website for the previous 12 months.

On Friday afternoon, Bastien’s accomplice Louise Martel and his daughter Tracy Pritchard — who’s driving in from Kitchener, Ont. — plan to go to the Eastway website to put some contemporary flowers after which meet privately at Martel’s house. 

“Will probably be very onerous for our households,” Pritchard mentioned of the anniversary.