One person was critically hurt in an explosion at a factory north of St. Catharines, Ontario, on Thursday morning. Around fifty people who had to leave their homes were eventually able to return.
According to the Niagara Regional Police Service, several explosions went off at 20 Keefer Road at roughly 6:30 a.m.
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St. Catharines Fire Department reports that just one person was in the building at the time of the explosion, and that he was carried there with significant burns but was still conscious.
Acting Chief of Emergency Medical Services in the Niagara Region, Karen Lutz-Graul, has confirmed that one patient is in serious condition.
Ssonixx Products, a company that focuses on hazardous waste treatment, was located in the building where the explosion took place. The firefighters report that there are several different types of chemicals at the scene.
Residents were forced to leave their homes for a good portion of the day while authorities conducted an evacuation. Those who lived a bit further away were advised to seal up their homes by turning off vents and windows.
At day’s end, there was still a closed stretch of Keefer Road.
Fire engulfs two structures
The fire department reports that shortly after the initial blast, aerosol goods in the building burst, causing the roof of a neighboring structure to partially fall.
At about 1 p.m., firefighters reported that the blaze had been restricted to a specific area but was still not under control.
If the building were to catch fire, the chemicals in two of its wings may explode or produce hazardous fumes, according to the Fire Department. However, he insists that the charred part of the aircraft is not near these wings.
Workers from the Ministry of the Environment were sent to the area to check the air quality. To further reduce the amount of product entering Lake Ontario, a hazardous materials control team has been called into action.
Instructing the public to maintain a safe distance,
Multiple warnings have been issued by firefighters, police, and the mayor of St. Catharines for residents and visitors to avoid the area. They also mentioned that drones aren’t allowed in the airspace over an area where rescue workers are present.
People were curious and came over to see what was going on, so I’m assuming that many did. The city has received reports of persons trying to send in drones to film or take photos, Mayor Mat Siscoe said. “Get your basic sense back,” he pleaded.