October 10, 2018 2:06 pm
Updated: October 10, 2018 2:09 pm

N.S. premier commends Irving’s handling of Saint John refinery explosion

Stephen McNeil addresses media on Sept. 20, 2018.

Global News
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Nova Scotia’s premier has commended Irving Oil’s handling of the explosion at its refinery in Saint John on Monday. His comments came while he was standing in what he described as a “wonderful auditorium” built by Irving Oil.

Stephen McNeil was addressing a gathering at Dalhousie University, that celebrated the grand opening of the university’s two newest buildings.

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“I want to say how impressed I was and how grateful all of the families were that there was no loss of life in New Brunswick and we look forward to you continuing to put your company back together and continuing to make investments not only in this province,” McNeil said, gesturing at the room around him. “But indeed across Canada.”

READ MORE: Dalhousie hosts grand opening of 2 new buildings on Sexton campus

The lion’s share of the funding for the Richard Murray Design Building and the Emera IDEA building came from the federal government, which paid half of the roughly $64-million price tag.

Irving Oil committed  $1.5 million to build a large auditorium in the design building.

The explosion that rocked Irving Oil’s Saint John refinery on Monday left several contractors being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

The Saint John Police Force said they responded to the refinery at 10:16 a.m. and asked civilians to avoid the area. Residents posted photos and videos of the flames and black smoke, which could be seen from across the city.

Resident Doug Bruce said he was about five or six kilometres away from the refinery at the time of the explosion.

“It felt like a truck had run into the building I was in,” Bruce told Global News.

In a tweet, the company said the refinery as a whole was safe and the site of the incident was “isolated and contained.”

There were as many as 3,000 workers at the refinery on Monday, which produces more than 320,000 barrels of energy products per day.

With files from Andrew Cromwell, Global News

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