June 24, 2014 8:08 pm

Refinery explosion: Six months later

REGINA- Six months ago, on Christmas Eve, an explosion at the Co-op Refinery Complex rocked Regina.

Two investigators from Regina Fire and Protective Services have been working in conjunction with the Technical Safety Authority of Saskatchewan (TSASK) to determine what went wrong.

“The time to gather the evidence was delayed based on the very cold winter that we had along with the debris and asbestos that was sprayed around the area,” said deputy fire chief Gerard Kay.

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Once investigators were able to get to the site, a consultant was hired to analyze what Kay calls ‘material of interest’. “We’re waiting for the consultant to clarify some questions that we have and then we can wrap this up.”

The Regina Fire and TSASK report is expected to be finalized in the next couple of weeks and released publicly sometime this summer.

Co-op is also working on its own internal investigation, which will also be made public within the next few months.

“We need to find the answers out to why these incidences happen and then we will do everything we can to rectify that once we have the conclusions drawn from the investigation,” said Brad DeLorey, director of communications for the Co-op Refinery Complex.

However, the Christmas Eve incident marks the fourth fire at the complex since 2011.

An occupational health and safety expert, working at the University of Regina, says he has ongoing concerns about safety at the plant.

“The Federated Co-op and their subsidiary, their refinery, need to take safety seriously,” said Sean Tucker, an associate professor in the Faculty of Business Administration. “I understand they say they do, but the proof is in the pudding. We need to see changes. We need to see more transparency.”

“These incidents are not normal,” said Tucker.

Co-op is reassuring the community it puts safety above productivity: “The community doesn’t have anything to worry about. We have the protocols in place. We have the crisis response in place,” said DeLorey.

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