Two dead in oilpatch explosion

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Two workers at an oilfield site in the M.D. of Lesser Slave River died in an explosion on Nov. 12.
The Leader was still waiting for official word from Alberta Occupational Health & Safety when the incident was confirmed by the local RCMP.
“We did attend,” says acting Slave Lake RCMP detachment commander Sgt. Casey Bruyns.
Bruyns said the reporting of the details was being left up to OH&S, as it is not a matter for police investigation.
What The Leader has heard from other sources is the explosion victims were a welder from Slave Lake and a pipefitter from elsewhere, possibly the Edmonton area. And that they were working in a confined space when the explosion happened. According to a relative of one of the victims, the explosion “blew the top right off the tank.”
As for the location, Bruyns said it was about a two-hour drive from Slave Lake, somewhere beyond Fawcett Lake. This is in an area of intensive oil production activity, much discussed and reported recently. Bruyns said the site is very close to the eastern edge of the Slave Lake RCMP jurisdiction, which would also put it close to the edge of the M.D.
A spokesperson for Alberta Jobs, Economy and Northern Development (which OH&S is part of) did call The Leader to confirm the double fatality, but wasn’t able to add anything – or even confirm most of the above details. OH&S is investigating, he said, but will “likely not” release anything to the public on it.
A Nov. 16 story in the Edmonton Journal said the site is owned by Tamarack Valley Energy of Calgary, which recently acquired it from Deltastream Energy. The site remains shut down pending the investigation, says the Journal story, written by Jonny Wakefield.
“It’s very difficult for everybody,” says Tamarack president Barry Schmidt in the Journal piece.

Share this post

Post Comment