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Sunrise Propane explosion trial begins in Canada

06 February 2012

More than three years after the company’s facility in northwest Toronto exploded, killing a worker and forcing thousands to flee their homes, the case against Sunrise Propane has finally reached the courts.

Two died and 12,000 were evacuated after the explosion in N.W. Toronto
Two died and 12,000 were evacuated after the explosion in N.W. Toronto

The company says it will plead not guilty to several charges brought under Ontario labour and environmental laws.

A Sunrise employee and a firefighter died as a result of the blast, which sent up a fireball that could be seen across the city and forced the evacuation of 12,000 people from the Downsview neighbourhood.

An Ontario Fire Marshal’s report into the explosion found that an illegal "tank-to-tank” transfer was underway at the time of the explosion and that a propane leak resulted from a hose failure. The ignition source of the blast has not been identified.

The report noted that tank-to-tank and truck-to-truck transfers are both dangerous and illegal in Ontario. Sunrise had been warned about the practice prior to the explosion.

Cleaning up the site cost more than C$2 million.

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