Ottawa police say one person was killed and five are unaccounted for after an explosion and fire broke out at a business on Merivale Road on Thursday.
The five missing have been presumed dead.
Firefighters received several 911 calls at about 1:30 p.m. Thursday about a major fire at 1995 Merivale Rd. In the Nepean area of the city, between Cleopatra Drive and Slack Road. Witnesses said a loud bang was coming from the site.
Ottawa Police Inspector Frank d’Aust said one of the people taken to the hospital died Friday morning, another is in critical and stable condition and a third has been discharged.
He said four men and a woman, who police believe were in the building at the time of the blast, are missing and the police cannot believe they have survived. No name has been released.
look | Massive fire, explosion in Ottawa:
When firefighters reached the burning building on Thursday afternoon, the workers had started coming out.
Crews battling to douse the fire were told of two seriously scorched patients and five personnel unaccounted for. to speak publicly.
A “Family Reunification Center” was operating Thursday evening at nearby Woodwell Pentecostal Church.
D’Aoust said friends and family of the missing have been informed and police have offered support.
Acting Ottawa Fire Chief Paul Hutt said a regional crisis line is taking the call and the mayor of Ottawa asked residents to pray for the missing families.
No words can take away the tension and devastation as these people await news about their relatives and friends
My heartfelt thanks to our first responders for their tremendous efforts to save and control the fire in very difficult situations. 2/2
Police said the fire had started at a business on Friday.
The address is home to Eastway Tank Pump & Meter Ltd., a manufacturer of custom tank trucks. Eastway did not return calls to CBC.
Multiple parties in the investigation
Various agencies are leading different parts of the investigation, which police described as a heavily damaged site, which will take time to investigate.
According to a police news release, the province’s fire marshals are undertaking an investigation into the cause of the blast and the fire.
The Ottawa Police Arson Unit is leading the police investigation, D’Aust said, and is working for the coroner’s office.
Officials did not take questions and it is therefore unclear whether arson is suspected, or if that unit is being chosen to lead because of its expertise in investigating the fires.
Fire officials said they are taking air quality samples and recovering any contaminated water flowing from the blaze. Police said they will continue to provide logistics and security support.
The ministries of the environment and labor were also called to the site.