Four people were injured, including one sent to hospital, after a row of shelves holding lumber “fell like dominoes” at the Windsor Plywood store Saturday morning.
Several employees became stuck under some shelves and debris at the north Edmonton location, near 52 Street and 128 Avenue.
Edmonton Fire Rescue district chief Brian Lees said crews initially responded around 10 a.m. to reports of four people trapped, but wasn’t certain how many people were involved.
“We found two people — they are in the care of EMS — and now we have one other lady that we know of that’s underneath,” Lees said around 11:15 a.m.
He added at the time firefighters thought there could be customers also trapped, but later determined only the four workers were involved.
Lees said there was an extensive amount of lumber and the technical rescue team was called in to help cut it up.
“The weight value of what’s fallen is getting heavier and heavier, so the further you go, the harder it is. So we’re going to get technical rescue to shore up the walls,” Lees said.
Lees said the rows inside the store were about six feet wide, 20 to 30 feet tall, and full of wood products.
“And it’s on both sides, so you can walk up all the aisles and look for what you require. So you think of that, where each aisle is now collapsed like a domino effect, we need to clear probably 50 feet by 20 to 30 feet high of lumber to try and make sure that everybody is accounted for.”
At least seven fire trucks were spotted on scene, as well as 25 to 30 police officers and multiple EMS vehicles.
Around 11:40 a.m., Edmonton police said everyone trapped under the lumber had been rescued.
“The volume of lumber that fell over, it’s amazing that nobody else was injured and they were lucky to get away with just the injuries they did have,” EPS Staff Sgt. Randy Wickins said.
A spokesperson with Alberta Labour said three of the workers suffered minor injuries. A fourth worker was taken to hospital and released.
Aric Kucey was one of the workers initially trapped. He said the shelves hit him in the back, but managed to get out of the debris quickly.
“Initially it sounded like a bundle of the mouldings had fell over and crashed,” Kucey said.
“But then as more shelves started falling it just sounded almost like a train rolling by actually. It was quite loud.”
“I think what happened was, from what I’ve been hearing anyways, the shelves were not bolted down. And then someone was up on a ladder very high and they tipped it over and it was just a domino effect. Shelf after shelf.”
The cause of the shelving collapse is not yet known. In an email on Sunday, the owner of the northeast Edmonton store told Global News the shelves were in fact bolted. Dave Greenfiled said he has no further comment as Occupational Health and Safety is investigating.