There was a loud boom.
Then photos started to fall off the wall and other items in the office were strewn about.
The “Boss Lady,” as she is called, was shaken and scared.
To say it was not a normal start to any day Christina Squires has had in her 34 years of working at AIMS, a full-line material handling equipment dealer and distributor located on Kyle Avenue in Donovans Industrial Park in Mount Pearl, would be an understatement.
Squires and her colleagues were rocked by an explosion at Trimac National Tank Services on Kyle Avenue around 8:20 a.m. this morning.
Squires, who handles inside sales and customer support at AIMS, said she was at her desk reading emails, just like any other morning shift.
“I heard a loud boom and then pictures started falling off the walls. I turned to look out the window (towards Trimac) and saw everything in the building go up in the air,’’ Squires said.
“I was frightened. I wasn’t sure if I should stay in the building or run outside.”
Squires’ office window backs directly onto Trimac.
She said when she turned to see what happened, all the debris from the building was blowing around everywhere, including towards the AIMS office, which is about 100 metres from the Trimac operation. Trimac provides bulk transportation, logistics and related transportation services such as tanker repairs to its customers.
“We initially got a call for fire here in the park,” Acting Deputy Chief Rick Dehann said from the scene.
“Once we arrived on site, it quickly was upgraded because of the explosion,” he added.
Dehann said there were nine employees in the building at the time of the explosion and several of those were taken to hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.
The remaining employees and the facility manager were outside the operation as firefighters and Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officers worked the scene to determine exactly what caused the explosion of a tanker inside the building.
The workers at Trimac and their manager on the scene declined comment, citing company policy not to discuss an incident like this as protocol.
They did all say they were OK.
“Because of the nature of their operation — they service fuel tanks — it appears one of (the tanks) exploded,’’ Dehann said.
“We will continue this as an ongoing investigation.’’
The building looked fine from the front view, but as you walked around and saw the other three angles, it was easy to see this was a large explosion.
Pieces of the roof and walls were blown as far as 500 feet from the building, some cars were damaged in an adjoining parking lot and insulation and smaller metals parts dotted the lawns of the nearby businesses.
Some of those business included a bulk fuel plant, bulk propane tanks and the Donovan’s Irving, all within a 1,000-metre radius of the Trimac building.
Incredible footage of the TriMak building explosionPosted by Mike Kennedy on Thursday, 21 June 2018
Ed Spurvey, a mechanic at AIMS, was one of the first people on site after the explosion.
“I went over to see if anyone needed help,’’ he said.
“There were a couple of guys on the ground, trying to catch their breath so I checked on them and looked around for more people,’’ he added.
Spurvey went further inside to see if he could find additional workers — thankfully he did not — but he did see the end blown out of a tanker in the garage and the carnage of the building with the walls and the roof blown off.
“There was pieces of metal and a bunch of other stuff all over the place,’’ he said.
He said because of the nature of what they do at Trimac, Spurvey said it was likely there were fumes remaining in the tank that were ignited and exploded.
“If you have fumes in a confined area, in a closed area, this is what can happen,’’ he said.
Jamie Field, service manager at AIMS, said the scary part for everyone at AIMS was they were not sure who was in the Trimac building and if they were OK.
“That was a big concern for us. I heard an extremely loud bang. I have never heard a bomb go off but if that is what it sounds like, that is what we had here,” he said.
“It was so strong it physically shook the building, knocked pictures off the wall and a lot of our supplies out back were shifted or knocked off the shelves,’’ he added.