TORONTO (AFP): An explosion at a refinery in Canada’s Atlantic island of Newfoundland on Friday sent eight people to hospital, including at least one in serious condition, police and the company said.
Federal police Corporal Jolene Garland told AFP emergency crews responded to a “small explosion” and a fire shortly after 4:00 pm (1830 GMT) at the facility in Come By Chance, 150 kilometers (90 miles) from St. John’s on the southeast side of the island, which is part of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The number of injured — initially reported at six, including one in serious condition — rose incrementally throughout the late afternoon as local media described a hectic scene with several ambulances coming and going.
“Eight individuals were transported to hospital, some with serious injuries as a result of the blast,” police said in the latest update.
“The fire caused by the explosion has been contained leaving no further danger at the worksite and all employees have been accounted for,” it added.
In a statement, Braya Renewable Fuels said “there was an incident at the refinery” but added that it had been quickly contained.
“We will do everything we can to support (the injured workers) and their families during this time,” the company said.
The cause of the explosion is under investigation. Braya said it would cooperate fully with authorities probing the incident.
The former North Atlantic refinery was re-branded as Braya Renewable Fuels after US private equity firm Cresta Fund Management bought a majority stake last year.
The idled facility was to reopen soon as a biofuel plant, producing up to 18,000 barrels of diesel and aviation fuel per day, mostly made from canola, soybeans and used cooking oils.
When the deal was announced in November 2021, Cresta said the plant would employ at least 200 workers.