Friday’s propane blast in Saanich deemed an accident

Single minor injury after shipping container explodes across Cloverdale-area neighbourhood

Shipping container blown apart during propane explosion at construction site on Cloverdale Avenue.

Shipping container blown apart during propane explosion at construction site on Cloverdale Avenue.

The propane explosion heard across Victoria on Friday was possibly ignited by a pop machine in a shipping container, says a Saanich fire investigator.

At 6:23 a.m., gas from a barbecue propane tank exploded inside a yellow Alpine shipping container at the Midtown Park condo project, at the corner of Cloverdale Avenue and Inverness Road, which shattered windows and shot chunks of metal across the neighbourhood.

Saanich fire Capt. Rich Pala says the barbecue-sized propane tank was likely left on overnight inside the locked container.

“A small pop machine plugged into an extension cord from the outside is being considered as a potential ignition source for the gas vapour cloud,” Pala said.

Saanich police Sgt. Steve Eassie says the police investigation is complete and the incident has been deemed an “industrial accident.” No criminal charges will be laid. Saanich fire is still conducting its investigation.

Both organizations will share information with WorkSafeBC, as it conducts its own probe.

“We’ll be looking at any violations of occupational health and safety regulations and what the roles of the employer might have been in that event,” said Ally Skinner-Reynolds with WorkSafeBC.

One worker was on site at the time of the explosion, and was in the neighbouring container.

The man, in his late 40s and a resident of Metchosin, had minor cuts and a concussion and was taken to hospital. He was back at work the same day, said Gerry Koutougas, owner of Midtown Park,

“We’re very happy that nobody got (badly) hurt. That’s very important,” Koutougas said.

Construction on the site wasn’t impacted by the incident and is on track for completion by December.

kslavin@saanichnews.com