Asbestos cleanup delays explosion probe at Regina refinery
Debris has to be carefully processed, fire marshall says
Regina fire officials are learning more about the extent of the fire and explosion damage at the Co-op refinery, with asbestos and a lot of debris still strewn around.
No one was injured in the Dec. 24th explosion at the refinery in Regina's north end, but the explosion could be heard from several kilometres away.
Investigators couldn't get close until Monday because of heavy damage to the area. Private contractors have bagged and removed much of the asbestos that was sprayed over the area during the blast, but more remains to be cleaned up.
Randy Ryba, the fire marshal with the Regina Fire Department, said investigators are looking into the area surrounding the explosion but have not yet reached the centre of the blast.
"We have a lot of debris strewn on the ground," Ryba said.
"That all has to be processed to ensure that it was not part of the causation mechanism that initiated the blast and ensuing fire."
The blast happened on a reactor platform that is about four storeys tall.
"Right now we are working the perimeter, in very close quarters to the steel structure itself," Ryba said.
"We're hoping in the next few days, weather-permitting, that the safety specialists will finish their work on the platform and then we'll be entering the platform."
In addition to the asbestos, the blast left various objects, including many pieces of metal, strewn about the structure, Ryba said.
Ryba expects it to be another four to five days before he can get to the heart of the explosion.
The investigation could take a full year to complete.