Three injured in explosion and major fire at Merivale Road building

Three people were injured in an explosion and fire at a building on Merivale Road in south Ottawa on Thursday afternoon.

Ottawa Police, the Ministry of Labor and the Ontario Office of the Fire Marshal are investigating the fire at an Eastway Reservoir building at 1995 Merivale Road, south of Slack Road. An Ottawa Fire Department investigator is also assisting in the investigation into the cause of the fire and explosion.

On Thursday evening, police asked all employees and families to come to a reunification center at Woodvale Pentecostal Church on Greenbank Road, “to ensure that everyone who worked there is accounted for. “.

Emergency crews continue to monitor the building’s rubble for flare-ups “and search the facility/site,” police said.

Nepean MP and Cabinet Minister Lisa MacLeod said on Twitter: “My thoughts are with those injured and missing in the blast, as well as the families of those affected and first responders.”

Flames and black smoke could be seen coming from the building on Merivale Road around 1:30 p.m. Thursday. Ottawa fire officials said 911 callers said they heard an explosion before seeing flames shooting 50ft through the roof of a structure.

Com. Tim Tierney says he was visiting a City of Ottawa facility a few meters from the building when the fire broke out.

“Actually, at first I thought it was an earthquake. The ground was shaking, then suddenly, a few seconds later, suddenly I heard the bang,” said Tierney on Newstalk 580 CFRA’s Ottawa Now with Kristy Cameron.

Swapan Sarker was working nearby when he heard three loud bangs.

“So I walk out of the warehouse, suddenly I see the fire.”

Acting Ottawa Fire Chief Paul Hutt told reporters that 911 received multiple calls for a fire at a commercial building on Merivale Road.

“Reports indicated there was heavy flames and smoke coming from this building,” Hutt said Thursday afternoon.

Hutt said firefighters have declared a third alarm, which means 30 to 40 resources within the department deployed to the scene.

“Crews arrived on scene quickly to attempt to extinguish the fire, but determined that the fire load and fire conditions were such that they needed to transition to a defensive attack,” Hutt said.

Three people present in the building at the time of the fire were taken to hospital. Paramedics say two people arrived at the hospital in critical condition, while the other patient is in stable condition.

Ottawa firefighters said Thursday night that a firefighter was treated for minor injuries.

Ottawa firefighters brought in heavy equipment Thursday night to help put out the blaze.

“As we put out the fire, there is a dripping of water that occurs because we put water on the fire. I want to assure residents that there is no worry – we have our HAZMAT team on scene,” Hutt said in a 4:30 p.m. update.

“We navigate and mitigate any risk. We suck up the flowing water.”

Hutt says Ottawa firefighters are monitoring air quality at the scene of the fire, and there is no concern for area residents and there is no need to clear out.

Mayor Jim Watson said on Twitter that there was a “serious situation” following an explosion at Eastway Tank on Merivale Road.

“My immediate concern is for the employees who have been impacted by this fire,” Watson said.

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

“I HEAR A LOUD KNOCK”

Sarker says his two roommates work at Eastway Tank.

“They are welding and painting the truck,” Sarker said. “There are a lot of dangerous chemicals and reservoirs.”

Witnesses reported hearing a loud “bang” before the fire started.

“I was serving a customer, I had just finished with her and I heard a loud bang. Then I know there’s a really big cloud of black smoke,” said Jesse Headland, who works at the Francis Gas Bar.

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

Amanda Fung is the owner of the Country Place Chinese restaurant near the scene of the fire.

“I’m sitting eating my lunch and smelling smoke. When I went outside to look through the window outside, I saw a lot of big flames.”

Leonardo De Socio said it was “a bit shocking” to see the flames so close to his house.

Ottawa police say the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of the Environment have been notified of the fire.

Merivale Road remained closed Thursday evening between West Hunt Club and Macfarlane Road. Slack Road is closed eastbound in Woodroffe.

FAMILY REUNIFICATION CENTER

A family reunification center has been set up at Woodvale Pentecostal Church on Greenbank Road.

Ottawa firefighters say the goal is to reunite employees with their families.

With files from CTV News Ottawa’s Jackie Perez and Tyler Fleming

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