A worker died and two others were seriously injured Thursday in an explosion inside a welding shop in an industrial area south of Edmonton, Canada, said officials at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
Devron Chase, 40, died in the blast that occurred in Nisku at 8:15 a.m. inside Ja-Co Welding at 1304 8th St. in the Nisku Business Park.
Eric Fabbro, 42, was one of two men taken to the hospital after the blast. He has had one surgery and is expected to undergo several more, family members said in a published report. In addition to a deep gash on his lower leg, he has a burn down his neck, arm and torso along with a broken nose and whip marks on his back from being hit by wires.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police previously reported only two men were injured on scene.
“Leduc RCMP were called to a business in Nisku, [to] reports of an explosion on site there,” said RCMP Const. Mike Hibbs. “Upon arrival, they discovered a small fire.”
Police said there was no concern for public safety, but members of the public were asked to stay away from the area.
RCMP, firefighters, paramedics and investigators with Occupational Health and Safety remained on scene, police said in a news release around 10 a.m.
Leduc County fire Chief Keven Lefebvre said his crews were at the Nisku fire station about 2.5 kilometers away when they felt and heard the force of the blast.
“We were in the office talking about our daily duties, what was lying ahead for the day, and we felt a big thump in the area, shortly followed by a dispatch to this business,” Lefebvre said.
“We felt it and heard it in our building so it was a pretty significant explosion. Some of my volunteer on-call responders come from Beaumont and they said they felt it in Beaumont.
“It was a pretty good blast, you could hear it for miles.”
When firefighters arrived on scene the building had already been evacuated.
After a primary search, a decision was made to allow burning acetylene tanks to vent off, Lefebvre said.
“Once they burn off their contents there is less risk of explosion … so that’s what we’ve been doing for the last little while.
“Those tanks are burning down now. The fire is basically out.”
As of 11 a.m., the acetylene tanks had burned off almost all of their fuel and firefighters were preparing to turn the scene over to RCMP and OHS.
The cause of the explosion is under investigation, Lefebvre said. Crews will remain on scene as required, he said.
“The initial blast caused some pretty extensive damage so there won’t be anybody else going in here for a while until some engineers check the stability,” he said.
Nisku is a hamlet and an industrial park within Leduc County, about 25 kilometers south of downtown Edmonton.
Ja‐Co Welding is a 110,000 square-foot facility divided into fabrication shops, offices and a machine shop, according to the company website.