Sunday, August 10, 2008

Explosion rocks Toronto: thousands flee, many injured, one firefighter dead

CBC reports:
(Toronto, Canada) A veteran firefighter died trying to extinguish a massive fire at a propane depot in north Toronto early Sunday, a blaze that closed major highways and forced thousands to flee their homes. The firefighter, who had been with the force for about 25 years, was found lifeless by a fellow firefighter in the hours after a 3:50 a.m. explosion erupted at Sunrise Propane Industrial Gases, Toronto fire service Div. Chief David Sheen said. He was later identified as Bob Leek, a district chief of emergency planning. Paramedics and firefighters tried to revive him to no avail, and he was rushed to hospital, Sheen said, adding he knew the firefighter personally. "It's hard, it's hard," Sheen said, his voice cracking with emotion. "Our guys are having a rough time with this."

Several other people, many of them area residents, suffered minor injuries when a series of explosions ripped through the storage facility at 54 Murray Rd., north of Highway 401, Toronto Fire division commander Bob O'Hallarn said. At an evening news briefing, acting police chief Kim Derry said one person who was at the site at the time of the explosion remains unaccounted for. Residents said the explosion was terrifying. READ MORE

H/T: My life in the YYZ