Ottawa police say one person is dead and five are missing after Thursday’s explosion and fire at a business on Merivale Road.
The five missing persons are presumed dead.
Firefighters received multiple 911 calls around 1:30 p.m. Thursday about a large fire at 1995 Merivale Rd. between Cleopatra Drive and Slack Road in the Nepean area. Witnesses reported hearing loud bangs coming from the site.
Ottawa Police Insp. Frank D’Aoust said Friday that one of those taken to hospital died Friday morning, another was in serious and stable condition and a third had been released.
He said four men and a woman who police say were in the building at the time of the blast are missing and police do not believe they survived. No name has been released.
WATCH | Major fire, explosion in Ottawa:
When firefighters arrived at the burning building on Thursday afternoon, employees had already started to come out.
Crews battling to control the blaze were told the two patients were taken to hospital with severe burns and five employees were missing, according to firefighters with knowledge of the emergency response who spoke to CBC News on the cover of anonymity because they were not authorized. speak publicly.
A “family reunification center” was operating Thursday evening at the nearby Woodvale Pentecostal Church.
D’Aoust said friends and family of the missing were notified and offered support by the police.
Acting Ottawa Fire Chief Paul Hutt said a regional distress line is taking calls and the mayor of Ottawa has asked residents to pray for the families of the missing.
No words can take away the stress and devastation as these people await news from loved ones and friends
My sincere thanks to our first responders for their tremendous efforts to save lives and contain the fire under very difficult conditions. 2/2
Police said Friday the fire was at a business.
The address is home to Eastway Tank Pump & Meter Ltd., a manufacturer of custom tank trucks. Eastway did not return calls from CBC.
Several facets of the investigation
Different agencies are carrying out different parts of the investigation into what police described as a heavily damaged site that will take time to examine.
The province’s fire marshal is taking the lead in determining the cause of the explosion and fire, according to a police news release.
The Ottawa Police Arson Unit is leading the police investigation, D’Aoust said, and is acting for the coroner’s office.
Officials did not respond to questions and so it is unclear whether arson is suspected or whether this unit is chosen to lead because of its expertise in investigating fires.
Firefighters said they took air quality samples and collected any contaminated water leaking from the scene of the fire. They will continue to provide logistical and security support, police said.
The environment and labor ministries were also called to the site.