Remains of Four People Found at Site of Ottawa Truck Plant Explosion

Remains of Four People Found at Site of Ottawa Truck Plant Explosion
Aftermath of the deadly explosion at Eastway Tank Pump & Meter Ltd. in Nepean, Ottawa. (Ottawa Police)
Matthew Trueman
Investigators say they have now located four sets of human remains in the rubble of last week’s explosion at an industrial complex in Ottawa on Jan. 13. However, they are still working on recovering the bodies.

Regional supervising coroner Louise McNaughton-Filion says trying to access the remains is still unsafe, as it could pose a safety threat to rescue personnel, but investigators will recover the remains and analyze them to identify the victims and determine the cause of death as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Ottawa Police Insp. Frank D’Aoust says the explosion at Eastway Tank, Pump and Meter Ltd., and the subsequent fire caused the factory roof to collapse and destroy part of the building.

“The structure is being dismantled and searched,” he said, adding that this is a long, methodical process that could take several more days to complete. Given the extent of damage to the building, “there are many, many layers of debris and we have to be careful,” he added.

Deputy Fire Marshall Tim Beckett noted that it will also take time before authorities can determine the cause of the explosion.

The Ottawa Police Service, along with the Ontario Fire Marshal, and the Office of the Chief Coroner, issued a joint press release on Jan. 16, stating that they will continue their respective investigations into the tragic incident.

“We continue to support the families of all those involved. Our thoughts are also with the victim who remains in hospital,” said the statement.

In the joint statement, D’Aoust also acknowledged the urgent need to locate all of the victims and “find answers.”

“The Ottawa Police Service and partners are moving as carefully and quickly as possible to provide meticulous investigative evidence and the utmost respect for the victims and their families,” he said.

So far, four of the victims have been publicly identified by their families as Kayla Ferguson, Rick Bastien, Danny Beale, and Etienne Mabiala.

GoFundMe pages have already been set up for at least two of the victims—Etienne Mabiala and Kayla Ferguson. The latter page, in part, states: “We are asking for your generosity to help lessen the load ... and support [our] family during such heartbreaking times.”
Neil Greene, the owner and president of Eastway Tank, said in a statement on Jan. 14 that he was “completely devastated” by the tragedy.

“My heart goes out to their families, loved ones and to all of our employees who are reeling from this deep loss,” he said.

“We remain in close contact with investigators, and we will cooperate with authorities on all ensuing investigations. We want to get to the bottom of what happened.”

The Canadian Press contributed to this article.