Irving Oil charged in explosion at Saint John refinery
Charges have now been laid in connection with an explosion and fire at the Irving Oil refinery in Saint John last year.
The explosion happened at the refinery on the city’s east side the morning of Oct. 8, 2018, sending plumes of thick black smoke into the sky.
"That was a scary day likely for Irving Oil and a scary day for the community," said Saint John Mayor Don Darling.
WorkSafeNB says one charge has been laid against Irving Oil, while two charges have been laid against Irving Oil Refining GP, under New Brunswick’s Occupational Health and Safety Act.
"WorkSafeNB completed its investigation and then made a recommendation to the Crown to pursue charges related to violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and their regulations," said WorkSafeNB spokesperson Laragh Dooley.
As for whether the finalized WorkSafeNB report will be publicly released, Dooley says it's out of their hands.
"At this point, it's before the courts and out of WorkSafeNB's hands."
That's a report environmentalist and Champlain Heights resident Gordon Dalzell would like to read.
"The people in authority and responsibility need to tell the public what happened there in general terms and then, more importantly, give us the assurance that steps were taken, arrangements were made to ensure this will not happen again," Dalzell said.
The explosion at Canada's largest refinery happened on Thanksgiving last year and shook homes in the surrounding neighbourhoods. There were no serious injuries.
For the mayor, the incident highlights the high level of heavy industry in New Brunswick's port city.
"That's why the relationship is so important to have balance in that relationship between the city, our protective service members like police and fire, and the large industrial partners that we have here in Saint John," said Darling.
In a statement, Irving Oil says "there is nothing more important than the safety of our people" but they say that because this is now a legal matter, they're not in a position to comment any further.