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Merivale explosion what we know and how it all happened




It has been two days since a massive explosion erupted at a truck-manufacturer on the southern edge of Ottawa, and the complex and multifaceted investigation has just begun.

Developments have been rapid and furious since the first 911 calls came around 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

While it is likely to be some time before there is a strong explanation for what caused the blast, some details have been confirmed including that one person has died and five others are missing and presumed dead.

Here’s what we know so far and when we learned it.


IN around 1:30 p.m., people start calling 911 for a massive explosion at an industrial business on Merivale Road south of West Hunt Club Road.

Some callers report flames 15 to 18 feet high in the country, while witnesses tell the CBC they heard loud noises and noises.

Firefighters at the scene find the building engulfed in flames and the roof and walls are collapsing. They begin to fight a defensive battle against fire.

Only after 14:00, Ottawa police posted it on Twitter people were injured by an explosion and fire in the 1900 block of Merivale, and a portion of Merivale is blocked.

CBC reporters arrive at the scene or as close as they can immediately to find officers directing traffic, ambulances running nearby, and smoke blowing in the distance.

Acting Chief of Firefighters Paul Huttgives The first update from the scene around 15:30, telling reporters two people were taken to hospital with vague injuries. Approximately at the same time, the Ottawa Hospital says in a statement that they actually have three people in their care.

Meanwhile, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, detects fire location as Eastway Tank Pump & Meter Ltd., a manufacturer of custom tank trucks.

About an hour later, Hutt gives a second update, saying the fire is still active and they need to bring heavy equipment to put it out. He says crews are sucking in any contaminated water and taking air quality samples and there is no danger to nearby residents.

Meanwhile, doctors confirm that three people are in hospital, two in critical condition, one in stable condition.

There is no danger for the residents as the fire on Merivale Street continues to burn, says the chief of firefighters

Acting Ottawa Fire Chief Paul Hutt says officials are taking steps to keep the area clean and safe for residents as they continue to fight the fire on Merivale Road, which remains closed to traffic. 0:59

Shortly after 5:30 p.m., The Ottawa Fire Department reports that a “family reunification center” has been set up at Woodvale Pentecostal Church to reunite employees with their families.

Firefighters officially put the blaze under control at 5:48 p.m.

Ottawa police, firefighters and paramedics issue a joint news release just before 7pm, calling on all workers and their family members to head to the reunification center to make sure everyone is accountable. They say emergency crews are still searching for the site of the fire and are monitoring for any blasts.

The Merivale road is reopened around 7:30 p.m.

People walk near the Woodvale Pentecostal Church in Ottawa on January 13, 2022. The church served as a ‘family reunion center’ following a fatal explosion and fire on Merivale Road. (Guy Quenneville / CBC)


Knoxdale-Merivale Coun. Keith Egli, who represents the area, offersan early morning update and CBC RadioOttawa Breakfast. He says he visited the reunification center on Thursday night, but did not know if all the workers were counted.

At a press conference at 9 p.m., almost 20 hours after the explosion, the police officially confirm that the five people who were in the building at the time of the explosion are missing and are believed to be dead.

Police also say one of the three men taken to hospital on Thursday had died. Another is in stable condition while the third has been released from the hospital.

Ottawa police say the arson unit will be the main investigators for the force, though they do not say whether they believe the blast and fire were caused by a deliberate act.

One dead, five missing from fire on Merivale Road, police say

Insp. of the Ottawa police. Frank D’Aoust said one man has died and five others are missing and presumed dead after Thursday afternoon blast and fire at a business on Merivale Road. 0:53

The Ontario Chief Medical Officer’s Office confirms it would assist with the investigation just before 10 o’clock

Just before noonEastway Tank President Neil Greene issues a statement saying he is “fully [devastated]”and his company will cooperate with all investigations. He says they want to ‘get to the end of what happened.’

Another city councilor, Tim Tierney, tells CBC Newsaround 1 p.m. how close he was when the explosion occurred. He says he initially thought it was an earthquake.

Ottawa councilors describe catastrophic fire on Merivale Road

Councilors Tim Tierney and Keith Egley say officials are investigating the cause of the fire and are still searching for the five people who went missing after the fire started Thursday afternoon. 1:18

The Ontario Ministry of Labor says around 4:30 p.m.they will conduct a parallel investigation.

A spokesman says they issued four orders against Eastway Tank in 2017, regarding issues such as ventilation, welding and hazardous chemicals. They were fully respected.

The Ministry of Environment meanwhile sends an emailjust before 5:30 say that clean-up efforts are still being made and that the environmental risks to the community are low.

Drone footage captured by the CBC around the time also shows work continuing at the scene of the fire.

asseton Friday evening, the identity of one of the victims, 57-year-old Rick Bastien, was confirmed to CBC News by his son.

His father, Josh Bastiensaid, a longtime Eastway employee listed on the company board as a welder / manufacturer / mechanic, was a “standing boy” who was “loved by all who met him”.

A former Eastway employee himself, Bastienalso shed light on the other five victims, saying they were his friends and called them all “good people”.




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