One dead, 5 missing and presumed killed after Merivale Road explosion

One person was killed and five others are missing after an explosion in a building at the south end of Ottawa on Thursday.

The explosion and large fire at Eastway Tank on Merivale Road have taken three people to hospital, two of whom are in critical condition. Police said Friday morning that one of those people has since died.

Police say four men and a woman are still missing. They are believed to have been in the building when the explosion occurred.

Police have not released their identities, but say their families have been notified.

“It is not believed that any survivors will be found,” Lance. Frank Doust told reporters Friday.

He explained that recovery efforts are underway at the severely damaged site, along with an investigation into the cause of the explosion and fire.

Thursday evening, police asked all employees and families to attend a reunion center at Woodvale Pentecostal Church on Greenbank Road. Family members can be seen comforting each other outside.

Emergency officials remain on site Friday morning. The Department of Labor, the Ontario Fire Marshall’s office and the coroner’s office are all investigating.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson tweeted his “deepest condolences” to the family of the employee who died, and asked residents to pray for the families of the five employees who are still missing.

“No words can remove the tension and devastation as these people are waiting for news of their relatives and friends,” Watson wrote on Twitter. “My sincere thanks to our first responders for their tremendous efforts to save lives and contain the fire under very difficult circumstances.”

“I thought it was an earthquake”

Flames and black smoke could be seen coming from the commercial building on Merivale Road at about 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

Ottawa fire services officials said 911 callers reported hearing an explosion before seeing 15-meter flames billowing through the roof of a building.

being. Tim Tierney said he was visiting Ottawa, just meters from the building, when the fire started.

“I actually thought it was an earthquake at first,” Tierney told Newstalk 580 CFRA’s Ottawa Now with Kristy Cameron. “The ground was shaking and then all of a sudden, seconds later, all of a sudden I heard the explosion.”

Three people in the building at the time were taken to the hospital. On Friday, police said one of them has since been released from hospital and the other is in a serious but stable condition.

One firefighter was also treated for minor injuries.

Heavy equipment crews were brought in Thursday evening to help put out the fire. Acting Chief of the Ottawa Fire Service, Paul Hut, said there was no danger to residents in the area.

“While we are suppressing the fire, there is a runoff that is happening as a result of we are putting water in the fire. I want to assure residents that there is no concern – we have a HAZMAT team on site,” Hat said Thursday.

According to the company’s website, Eastway Tank, Pump & Meter Ltd. is a dedicated manufacturer of tank trucks for both the North American and international markets.

“I hear a loud bang”

Eyewitnesses said they heard a strong “bang” before the fire started.

“I was serving a customer, I just finished with her and I heard a loud bang. Next thing I know there’s a very big cloud of black smoke,” said Jesse Hedland, who works near Francis Gas Bar.

“It goes up ‘very high’ and eventually I see some flames hiding behind the truck. Probably the biggest thing I’ve seen in my nine years working here.”

Amanda Fong is the owner of Country Place Chinese Restaurant near the fire place.

“I’m sitting eating my lunch and I smell smoke. When I went out to look out the window I saw a lot of flames.”

— Files by Tyler Fleming and Jackie Perez, CTV News Ottawa


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