----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, April 28, 2003 9:42
Subject: [MbrExchange] NG blast
Just last week there was another news report about the
Tokaimura criticality accident.
Last Friday's NG blast
in Toronto killed more than three times as many people, but I doubt you'll
hear about it four years later, or that there will be any impact on the
Canadian (or any other) NG industry....
- - - - - -
WNA News Briefing 03.16
(for the period 16 - 22 April 2003)
JCO Co has abandoned plans to restart its uranium conversion facility in
Tokaimura, the site of a criticality accident in September 1999. The move
follows the recent court ruling that found the company and six of its
employees guilty of neglect that led to the death of two of its workers. The
company - a subsidiary of Sumitomo Metal Mining Co - had been trying to gain
regulatory approval to reopen its fuel processing facility since being
stripped of its licence to operate the plant in March 2000. (Ux Weekly, 21
April, p4; also News Briefing 03.09-3)
- - - - - -
Sunday, Apr. 27, 2003
Service held for
gas explosion victims
Toronto - Family and friends gathered in Toronto Sunday for a
service for the victims of last week's
natural gas explosion at west-end strip mall.
Toronto fire chaplain presided over the private service, also attended
police, fire and search and rescue
"It was good to have a little reflection,
take a few moments to recognize
the fact of the
losses," said acting fire supervisor Bill Hiscott.
Seven bodies, whose identities have not been released, have been pulled
the wreckage of the crater-like depression that
was once a two-storey strip
mall. It was levelled when
a work crew severed a gas main.
Search crews continued
combing through the charred debris on Sunday.
Officials said the existence of more victims can't be ruled out until
blast zone has been completely excavated.
On Saturday, recovery crews pulled the body of what they
hoped to be the
final victim of a violent explosion
and fire that destroyed a west-end strip mall last week.
The crews made the grim discovery of the seventh victim Saturday.
have been combing through the debris in
search of human remains since the Thursday blast.
explosion completely demolished the mall housing four retail businesses
and five apartments.
have not ruled out the chance that there may have been more victims.
"Two of the businesses were open and they were commercial
may be the possibility of others,"
said Bill Hiscott from the Ontario Fire Marshal's Office.
The bodies of four females and one male that had already been pulled
the charred debris were to be autopsied Saturday,
None of the victims' identities have yet
been released. Some of the remains
pulled from the
site were so badly charred that experts would have to use
dental records to positively identify them.
Firefighters searching the wreckage discovered the first body just
a.m. Friday. The second and third bodies were
found later in the morning
when the search resumed in
daylight hours. The fourth victim was located in
afternoon and the fifth was uncovered Friday night.
Recovery crews initially had trouble removing victims from the
because of the unstable disaster site, said Mr.
Hiscott. "As we dig up the
debris, some of it is still
smouldering very slowly and as we give it a bit
oxygen it's going to start to burn again," he said.
The violent blast also tore a hole in the side of a two-storey home
the complex and blew out windows in businesses
across the street. It is
thought that a city work crew
accidentally severed a gas line.
The investigation was
expected to continue into next week.
Bodies pulled from smouldering ruins
TORONTO VICTIMS LIKE 'EXTENDED FAMILY'
expected to be found alive in rubble of strip mall leveled by gas explosion
PRESS [The Montreal Gazette, 26 April 2003]
TORONTO - Rescue crews combing through the ruins of a west-end
strip mall recovered five bodies yesterday, victims of a massive natural gas
explosion that left a smouldering scene the province's coroner called
reminiscent of "the bombings in Belfast."
Officials said the bodies were "badly burned" and will have to
be identified through dental and medical records.
bodies of three women and one man were found. The gender of the fifth body was
not immediately known.
Rescue crews said they were
looking for at least one more person.
"I hate to be
the bearer of bad news, but there's absolutely no possibility anyone in there
is still alive," Jim Cairns, Ontario's chief coroner, told an afternoon
briefing at the scene of Thursday's blast.
Firefighters had trouble removing victims from the rubble
because of unstable debris surrounding the bodies, said Bill Hiscott of the
Ontario Fire Marshal's Office.
"The tar roof has basically pancaked on top of the building
and it's still burning," he said.
believe six people were killed in the explosion that completely demolished the
mall housing four retail businesses and five apartments.
They said that number could rise as it's unclear exactly how
many people were in the strip mall at the time. Four others were injured.
"It certainly is a gas explosion," said Cairns as he surveyed
mounds of debris surrounding a deep crater. "It reminds me of the bombings in
Cairns is a native of Northern Ireland whose office is
investigating the blast.
Despite Cairn's blunt words
that there's no chance anyone survived, Jim Makris held out hope that his
cousin Tina and aunt Dora would be found alive.
"We haven't lost anybody yet," he said on behalf of the
victims' families. "We are still hoping. We still think there's some glimmer
Tina Kirkimtzis, 32, worked with her father at her parents'
dry cleaner's shop while Dora Carambelas, 60, worked at a beauty parlour.
Dora's husband Louie apparently escaped the blast by mere minutes after
leaving the mall to go on a coffee run. A steady stream of onlookers walked
past the site throughout the day, among them sombre friends bearing flowers
and curious neighbours carrying cameras.
One woman watched the recovery efforts silently as she wiped a
tear from her eye. Two boys scrambled up a pile of bricks across the street in
an attempt to spy into the cavern where two excavators removed slabs of a tar
roof. Others dropped off bouquets and votive candles at an impromptu memorial
set up across the street from the site.
"A belated note of deepest sympathy and understanding," read
one card left with the flowers.
The victims of
the blast were like an "extended family" to many in the neighbourhood, said
Michael Romano, who had been using Elegant Cleaners for 15 years.
Firefighters searching the wreckage discovered the first body
just before 3 a.m. The second and third bodies were found later yesterday
morning when the search resumed in daylight hours, and the fourth victim was
located in the afternoon. The fifth was reported found last night.
Infrared cameras, listening devices and "snake eye" cameras
dropped through drilled holes were among the high-tech equipment used to
assist the search. While heavy machinery removed the larger pieces of debris,
much of the delicate work was done by hand. Firefighters removed bricks from
the rubble and passed them hand-to-hand as they approached human remains.
The four people who suffered non-life-threatening injuries
were taken to hospital for treatment. Three of those victims were treated and
released. The fourth was kept overnight for observation.
"One of the people who was taken to the hospital injured
actually came out of one of the suites upstairs," Hiscott said.