Bloor Street Explosion – 10 Years Ago Today (April 24)
Dora Carambelas, Tina Kirkimtzis, Robert Fairley, Irene Miyama, Adele Brown, Elizabeth Roy, and Lillian Guglietti; those are the names of the seven people who lost their lives 10 years ago today as a result of utility locate issues. Today marks the anniversary of the Bloor Street Explosion. In summary, a problem related to obtaining appropriate locates was the cause of a tremendous explosion at a strip plaza on Bloor Street in the Six Points area of Etobicoke on April 24, 2003. The incident caused the complete destruction of the plaza and the loss of life for seven people in the plaza. As a result of the incident, investigations and court proceedings led to the eventual conviction of the excavation company, the utility locator, and Enbridge with penalties of $1.4 million in total. There are a number of articles in our blog related to this incident and more information in the Locate Resources section of our website.
Interestingly, one of the guilty pleas was for “failing to adequately supervise an employee in the implementation of the locate process”. This plea should be of interest to environmental and geotechnical consulting firms. It could have implications for firms ensuring their employees are properly trained with respect to utility locates when they are managing site investigations with drillers.
Over the last 10 years since the explosion that levelled the plaza and killed seven people, there has been increased awareness of utility locate issues, modification to the Occupational Health and Safety Act to improve wording in the construction regulation, and just last year an entirely new Act (Ontario Underground Infrastructure Notification System Act), and we still have people requesting us to drill when they do not have complete locates.
Date: April 24, 2013