Focus right now is on assisting injured personnel, says official
At least 10 people were injured in a “significant” explosion at a military base in Vancouver Island in British Columbia on Thursday morning, according to reports.
The explosion at Canadian Forces Base Comox shook the nearby civilian airport and rattled windows as far as a kilometre away. It happened around 9 a.m. PT in an unused barracks building, according to base spokesperson Capt. Brad Little, CBC reported.
"Our focus right now is on assisting our injured personnel," Lt.-Col. Mike Juillet told reporters at the base Thursday, according to a report from CTV News.
Six patients were treated at the base’s military medical unit, while three were taken to hospital in stable condition.
One person was airlifted to hospital in the 442 Squadron CH-149 Cormorant helicopter with a critical care paramedic team, according to Global News.
Canada’s military has faced issues of workplace violence this year. In January, Julie Payette resigned as Canada’s Governor-General following a string of claims alleging workplace harassment at Rideau Hall.
Acting Chief of the Defence Staff General Wayne Eyre, the head of Canada’s military, expressed his thoughts about the recent incident via Twitter.
“I wish them a rapid recovery and thank first responders, emergency services and personnel for their rapid actions in assisting the injured and securing the situation,” he wrote.
Military officials have yet to say what caused the explosion.
In December 2018, workers at Ja-Co Welding & Consulting Ltd. in the Nisku Business Park south of Edmonton, Alb., were fabricating a metal skid when acetylene gas ignited, causing a fatal explosion. Also, Adrian, Missouri employer MFA Enterprises Inc. was cited for one willful and six serious safety violations after one of its employees was seriously injured from an explosion in the workplace.
Other Twitter users also commented about the incident in B.C.
“B.C. just doesn't seem to catch a break,” said Jim McClure. “Wishing a speedy recovery to all.”
“How much devastation does one province have to go through in one year?” asked Pauline Gass.
Recently, in the wake of the floods in B.C., WorkSafeBC reminded employers to prepare for emergencies that may be caused by severe weather events.