Canadian company fined C$5.3M for deadly 2008 blast
29 January 2016
On January 25 an Ontario court imposed $5.3 million in fines on Sunrise Propane, the Toronto company which experienced an explosion that killed one employee on August 10, 2008. A firefighter involved in controlling the blaze also died of a heart attack the following day, and thousands were forced from their homes in the Downsview suburb of Toronto.
The fines were for, among other things, discharging contaminants into the natural environment and failing to comply with a Provincial Officer's Order. The discharge resulted from an explosion and subsequent fire that occurred at Sunrise Propane's storage facility.
Sunrise Propane and its directors Shay Ben-Moshe and Valery Belahov were found guilty in June 2013 of nine provincial offences related to the deadly 2008 blast that forced thousands of people from their homes.
The court ruled that Sunrise failed to provide safety training and a safe working environment, discharged a contaminant and contravened a number of provincial orders related to the cleanup after the blast.
The court also found that Ben-Moshe and Belahov failed to take all reasonable care to prevent the company from flouting those orders.
The trial heard that, according to the government, the initial blast took place when propane vapours ignited during a risky truck-to-truck propane transfer, which was not covered by the facility’s license.