UPDATED: Saanich firefighters free trapped workers at Uptown Walmart

Saanich Fire Department on the scene after a car crashed into the Walmart in Uptown. (Photo courtesy Dan Wood)Saanich Fire Department on the scene after a car crashed into the Walmart in Uptown. (Photo courtesy Dan Wood)
(Saanich Fire Department photo)
Saanich Fire Department on the scene after a car crashed into the Walmart in Uptown. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)Saanich Fire Department on the scene after a car crashed into the Walmart in Uptown. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Saanich Fire Department on the scene after a car crashed into the Walmart in Uptown. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)Saanich Fire Department on the scene after a car crashed into the Walmart in Uptown. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Staff gather outside the building at Walmart in Uptown the afternoon of April 9. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)Staff gather outside the building at Walmart in Uptown the afternoon of April 9. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Firefighters respond to a report of an ‘explosion’ April 9 at Uptown Walmart. The call turned out to be a car driven through a wall and 20 feet into the deli area of the store. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)Firefighters respond to a report of an ‘explosion’ April 9 at Uptown Walmart. The call turned out to be a car driven through a wall and 20 feet into the deli area of the store. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Firefighters respond to a report of an ‘explosion’ April 9 at Uptown Walmart. The call turned out to be a car driven through a wall and 20 feet into the deli area of the store. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)Firefighters respond to a report of an ‘explosion’ April 9 at Uptown Walmart. The call turned out to be a car driven through a wall and 20 feet into the deli area of the store. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Saanich Police Department cordons off the area to investigate after an elderly driver drove through a wall and into the Walmart at Uptown. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)Saanich Police Department cordons off the area to investigate after an elderly driver drove through a wall and into the Walmart at Uptown. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Firefighters respond to a report of an ‘explosion’ April 9 at Uptown Walmart. The call turned out to be a car driven through a wall and 20 feet into the deli area of the store. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)Firefighters respond to a report of an ‘explosion’ April 9 at Uptown Walmart. The call turned out to be a car driven through a wall and 20 feet into the deli area of the store. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Saanich firefighters had to free trapped staff at Walmart after a driver rammed through the wall of a lower parking area Friday afternoon.

Deputy Chief Dan Wood told Black Press Media around 4:30 p.m. that firefighters were working to free staff members who were stuck in a freezer at the Uptown store. He said the driver, the only occupant – drove through the concrete wall and 20 feet into the store before coming to a stop – pinning a freezer door closed.

Wood said the driver was not seriously injured but was taken to the hospital afterward. All staff were safely removed and not seriously injured.

Saanich Police Department cordoned off the area and the Walmart remained closed Friday night. Firefighters stabilized the vehicle and suspended the ceiling to await structural engineers.

Const. Markus Anastasiades, public information officer for the Saanich police, told Black Press Media the incident was initially reported as an explosion because the sound of the driver crashing through the wall was so loud. He noted that concrete parkade walls aren’t as strong as many might assume. Officers are investigating the cause of the crash and remained on scene for several hours.

The next morning, police confirmed that the driver was not an elderly woman as previously reported by first responders on scene. The department could not comment on the actual age or gender of the driver at this time.

Drivers were advised to avoid the area as traffic was impacted.

READ ALSO: Owner of large, off-leash dog that fatally mauled small pup in Saanich park identified

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