January 18, 2016 2:58 pm
Updated: January 25, 2016 2:39 pm

Man killed in Alberta oilsands plant explosion identified

A photo of Drew Foster and his family on GoFundMe, Jan. 17, 2016.

Credit: Chantelle Roy/gofundme.com

Friends, family and his union have identified the man killed at an oilsands facility Friday as 52-year-old Drew Foster.

Loved ones described Foster as a wonderful and kind man. A spokesperson for the Millwrights, Machinery Erectors and Maintenance Union called his death a tragedy.

Friday afternoon, an explosion rocked the Nexen Long Lake facility, killing Foster and seriously injuring another worker.

Story continues below

Pam Sharpe, media spokesperson for Occupational Health and Safety, confirmed the man who died was 52 years old and the injured worker is 30 years old.

As of Sunday, the injured man was still in hospital.

Sharpe said OHS is not releasing any more information about the victims, including where they are from. However, family members of the injured man say he is from Cape Breton and had been
working out west for several years.

Family members in Nova Scotia have identified him as Dave Williams, a native of Scotchtown and a journeyman millwright at the Nexen Long Lake Project.

His cousin Kelly MacEachern, a Scotchtown resident, says Williams’ parents and three brothers are at his side in an Edmonton hospital where he is in an induced coma with third-degree burns.

Investigators are still on scene at the facility south of Fort McMurray and Sharpe said they will remain there for as long as they are needed.

The explosion happened inside a building in the compressed gas area at the Nexen Long Lake facility at around 3:20 p.m. as workers were changing out valves on a compressor.

“A hydrocracker on site may have caused the explosion. That’s early indications, of course,” Acting Staff Sgt. Jeremie Landry said Friday night.

RCMP were called to the site, which is about 80 km south of Fort McMurrary, just before 5 p.m.

The Alberta Energy Regulator was on site Monday, working to shut down the plant, but the cold weather presented a challenge. AER is working to ensure all regulatory and safety requirements are met and OHS has control of the site.

Drew Foster, seen here in photos shared on his Facebook page.

Credit: Facebook/Drew Foster

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Foster’s family.

“Drew was always caring and was an amazing father and husband – Always smiling and laughing,” wrote Chantelle Roy, who created the page.

“The couple always helped people when they could. She lost her best friend and love of her life of 25 years.”

*EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published Jan. 17 and was updated Jan. 18 with the victim’s name.

With files from The Canadian Press and Cape Breton Post

© 2016 Shaw Media

Report an error


Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.