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‘No major injuries’ after silo explodes at Dartmouth concrete plant

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‘No major injuries’ after silo explodes at Dartmouth concrete plant
WATCH: Emergency crews responded to Dartmouth's Burnside Industrial Park after reports of an explosion at a concrete plant Monday afternoon. Alicia Draus has more – Nov 5, 2018

Emergency crews responded to Dartmouth’s Burnside Industrial Park after reports of an explosion at a concrete plant Monday afternoon.

Halifax Fire and Halifax Regional Police were called to Quality Concrete on MacDonald Avenue at around 3:20 p.m. AT., after several people called 911 to say they heard a loud explosion.

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Witnesses tell Global News the top of a silo blew off in the explosion. The top of the structure could be seen across the street, where part of it had landed on top of a parked car.

Joni Fagan was driving beside the silo in her work truck with a co-worker when the explosion happened.

“We were’t sure what happened to be honest. We just stopped, we ducked,” she said. “I was right beside it. It was very scary.”

READ MORE: Fleeing driver hits Halifax police officer in face with a rock

She says she heard a loud bang and something landed behind her truck, followed by five minutes of darkness. It was at that point that she called 911.

“I would say it was the roof of the silo. It landed just behind my bumper. So I’m sure there are pieces of debris inside the back of the truck,” she said.

Halifax Fire said on Twitter there are “no major injuries”, and they were using a drone to assess the damage from above. They said what people initially thought was smoke from a fire was actually concrete dust from the silo.

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“Debris was strewn clear across several blocks in Burnside Industrial Park,” said Halifax Fire Division Chief Stephen Nearing.

“[The drone] was looking at the debris field because the debris field is rather significant. It was trying to determine some of the major pieces that may have flown on the roofs that we couldn’t see.”

Nearing goes on to say that officials are coming up with a plan on how to clean the fly ash debris that is now covering the street, buildings and cars.

“Fly ash has been known to be a carcinogen but they’re looking at to what extent,” he said.

Paul Raymond, who is vice-president of a trucking company that neighbours the concrete plant, says he and his employees were asked by emergency officials to stay inside their building. He also helped to comfort an employee of the concrete plant, who ran outside.

“He was really rattled,” said Raymond. “[We] made sure he was calmed down, asked him to phone his wife to make sure she knew he was okay.”

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On Twitter, people shared photos of the aftermath of the explosion.

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Meanwhile, investigators with Halifax Fire are trying to determine what caused the explosion.

— With files from Alicia Draus and Silas Brown

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