Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Sunrise blast caused by illegal ‘tank-to-tank transfer,’ report says
The 367-page report, which was obtained by the Toronto Star, said the cause of the explosion was accidental and occurred after a “tank-to-tank transfer” released liquid propane from a hose.
About six minutes before the blast on the morning of Aug. 10, 2008, the leaked liquid propane from the hose vaporized. The actual cause of ignition is still unknown, says the report.
The report notes that the Sunrise Propane did not have the appropriate license to conduct “tank-to-tank” transfers. The company had previously been ordered to cease and desist tank-to-tank operations by the Technical Standards and Safety Authority in November 2006, the report says.
“Tank-to-tank transfers continued to occur at the site subsequent to the ‘order,’ ” the report says.
The explosion and fire at the Sunrise Propane facility on Murray Rd., near Keele St. and Wilson Ave., caused the evacuation of a 1.6-kilometre area and affected thousands of residents and businesses. The destructive blast rained asbestos and burning metal over the northwest Toronto neighbourhood.
The body of Sunrise employee Parminder Singh Saini, 25, was found in the charred remains of the propane facility. He was a student at Sheridan College in Brampton.
Several sections of the report were blacked out, including accounts by witnesses and details of damages to nearby residences and businesses.
Toronto city Councillor Maria Augimeri, in whose ward the explosion took place, says the report confirms her belief that such facilities shouldn’t exist near residential communities, and that the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) didn’t properly enforce regulations.
“One problem is the very fact that these types of establishments exist next door to communities,” she said in an interview with the Star on Tuesday.
“The other is the TSSA. We’ve always said that their bark was worse than their bite. They didn’t have the teeth, the willingness to oversee the company that they purport,” she said.
The report says more consideration should have been given to whether it was appropriate for Sunrise Propane to have been built near a residential area.
In 2009, the Sunrise Propane Energy Group and its directors were charged under the Environmental Protection Act.
A class-action lawsuit is underway against Sunrise Propane and the owners of the site, claiming to represent any residents or business owners affected by the blast.