It's a blast! Yellowknife residents rattled Saturday by shaking ground, plume of debris

One alarmed resident was in her home on Latham Island when the blast went off. She said she jumped and snapped a photo for Twitter.

Planned blast at N.W.T. Construction's quarry followed proper procedures, says city

Jen Hayward snapped this photo from her kitchen on Latham Island over the weekend. The city says it was a blast at the N.W.T. Construction quarry located near the dump. (Submitted by Jen Hayward )

Some Yellowknife residents were left scratching their heads after feeling the ground shake and spotting a big plume of debris over the weekend.

It was caused by a planned blast by NWT Construction at its quarry near the Solid Waste Facility. The blast went off around 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, according to City of Yellowknife spokesperson Iman Kassam. 

Jen Hayward was in her kitchen on Latham Island when the blast went off. She said she jumped and then snapped a photo from her window, posting it to Twitter with the caption "what was that?"

"I didn't want to go outside, I wasn't sure what was going on," she said.

She said she spoke to a friend on the other side of the island who could also feel the ground shaking and said it made his dog jump.

While Hayward said she was startled, she's glad it wasn't something more serious and no one was hurt.

"A blast that big and the big smoke was a little bit alarming, but you know when you don't hear sirens and you don't see anything then you tend not to panic too much."

Proper procedures followed

Kassam said that proper procedures were followed throughout the blasting process, including ensuring the area was clear of people and providing the necessary warning signals.

Under city guidelines, blasting companies are required to notify the appropriate authorities before blasting, which include the city's fire and municipal enforcement divisions, and Department of Public Works and Engineering. Blasts are also regulated under the territorial Explosives Use Act which is enforced by the Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission.

According to the blaster, roads with access to the quarry were temporarily closed as well as roads to the Tli Cho Landtran's quarry, RTL Construction's quarry, and the city's bailing facility. Employees and sub-contractors working in the area were also guided out of the blast zone perimeter at least 15 minutes before blasting occurred.

All "relevant contacts" and nearby businesses were notified in advance that blasting would be taking place, according to the blaster.  


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