Saint John working to prevent future industrial accidents
Monday's fiery explosion at the Irving Oil refinery is the latest in a series of industrial incidents in Saint John this year.
There was another blast at a recycling plant yesterday and the city is working on prevention plans for what seems like a dangerous new normal.
Cooling efforts continued at the Irving Oil refinery on Wednesday as water was still being sprayed at the site of the blast, two days after an explosion.
Boilermaker Terry MacEachern says he was only a couple hundred metres away from the blast.
"There was an actual combustion wave that happened,” he said. “You could see the dust going and it just kind of flung us back. Where I was at, about maybe a foot, just shot me off balance, and it was a little chaotic right there actually. People were pretty freaked out, didn't know what was really happening, and then we saw a mushroom cloud.”
MacEachern gives high marks to the company for the way they handled things that day.
“This is the extreme, but I feel very confident that they have high standards of safety,” he said.
And now, exactly what happened at Canada's largest refinery on Monday is going under the microscope.
The province says under its approval to operate, Irving Oil has to submit a detailed incident report to the Department of Environment within five days of the explosion. The department tells us after reviewing the report; they'll be able to decide next steps.
Worksafe NB has already begun the process of investigating the blast.
“At this point, it is still considered a hot zone and there is a crane that needs to be dismantled before we are actually able to properly access the scene,” said Laragh Dooley of Worksafe NB.
Irving oil did not respond today to a request for an interview.
Councillor and Liberal MLA-elect Gerry Lowe says a better relationship is needed with industry in Saint John.
“We had the butane, we had explosions, we had the fire, it doesn't stop,” Lowe said. “We're an industrial city that doesn’t get treated inside like an industrial city. There's things that have to change.”
Some workers were back inside the plant today for a meeting.
But it’s still unclear when everyone will be returning to work full time.
Irving is also offering counselling to anyone who might need it.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Lyall.