Victims of deadly industrial explosion are seen as ‘good people’

Josh Bastien says his father, Rick, right, died in Thursday’s explosion and fire at Eastway Tank on Merivale Road in Ottawa, one of the deadliest industrial disasters in the city’s history . Rick is pictured with his wife, Louise Martel. (Rick Bastien/Facebook)

Friends and family of victims of Thursday’s horrific explosion at an Ottawa fuel truck manufacturer are mourning the loss of loved ones, as authorities continue to piece together what caused one of the most killers in the city’s history.

One man is confirmed dead and five other people are missing and presumed dead following the explosion and fire at Eastway Tank Pump and Meter Ltd., 1995 Merivale Rd. The explosion occurred around 13 30 p.m. Thursday.

Among the victims is longtime Eastway employee Rick Bastien, 57, a former supervisor at the facility who is on the company’s current directory as a welder/fabricator/mechanic.

“All his life, my dad has worked hard to provide for his family,” Josh Bastien wrote in a series of text messages to CBC News.

I really think my dad just wanted to retire and thought it would be soon.-Josh Bastien

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“He was an upstanding guy, loved by everyone who met him. I never knew him to have enemies. He would be there for his friends in a heartbeat. He loved me, my sister and me , and we could always count on him being there,” wrote Bastien, who worked alongside his father at Eastway until about a year ago.

close to retirement

Bastien said his father was a skilled craftsman who recently put the finishing touches on the home he shared in Luskville, Que., with his wife, Louise Martel.

“We had 10 wonderful years together and thought we had at least 30+ to come,” Martel wrote on her husband’s Facebook page. “We had big plans. RIP RICK. I love you and always will, until we meet again.”

Josh Bastien said his father is three years away from retirement and can’t wait to leave Eastway.

“He was the best dad I could ask for. I’m so grateful for the times we had together,” he wrote.

“My dad wanted out but I really think my dad just wanted to retire and thought it would be soon,” he continued. “Not soon enough.”

The devastation that followed Thursday’s explosion and fire at Eastway Tank is shown in this drone footage from late Friday afternoon. (Radio Canada)

“My heart goes out to their families”

Bastien said he worked with everyone who died or disappeared after Thursday’s explosion and fire, describing them as friends and “good people”.

Among the victims was the factory’s new supervisor, whom Bastien described as “a good man”; a young woman who trained as a welder with her father; a French-speaking immigrant from Africa who was “always a happy, smiling guy at work and my dad loved him and so did I”; another man who “always told jokes and had fun”; and a man from Deep River, Ontario who loved fishing and off-roading in his jeep.

One survivor was airlifted to Toronto, where he was treated in the burn unit at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. The hospital declined to disclose his condition to CBC News on Friday.

Authorities have not released the names of the dead, missing or injured, and CBC News has not independently verified their identities.

Neil Greene, chairman and owner of Eastway Tank, released a statement on Friday saying it was “with great sadness that we learned that one of our colleagues perished as a result of the tragic explosion, with five missing. and one in the hospital”.

“My heart goes out to their families, loved ones and all of our employees who are in shock at this profound loss,” Greene said.

“We remain in close contact with investigators, and we will cooperate with authorities on any ensuing investigations. We want to get to the bottom of what happened.”

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