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

Josh Bastien says his father, Rick, right, died in the explosion and fire Thursday 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 the victims of Thursday’s horrific explosion at an Ottawa tanker truck manufacturer mourn the loss of their loved ones as authorities continue to collect what is one of the deadliest industrial disasters in the city’s history caused.

One man is confirmed dead and five other people are missing and presumed dead after the explosion and fire at Eastway Tank Pump and Meter Ltd., at 1995 Merivale Rd. The blast occurred Thursday at about 1:30 p.m.

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

“My father’s whole life worked himself to the fur to take care of 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 a stand-up guy, loved by everyone who came over him. I never knew he had enemies. He would be there for his friends on the drip of a hat. He loved me and my sister and we could always count on him to be there, “wrote Bastien, who until about a year ago worked alongside his father on Eastway.

Nearing retirement

Bastien said his father was a skilled craftsman who recently finished finishing the house he shared in Luskville, Que., With his wife, Louise Martel.

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

Josh Bastien said his father was three years retired and was looking forward to leaving Eastway.

“He was the best father I could ever ask for. I am so grateful for the times we had together,” he wrote.

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

The devastation following Thursday’s explosion and fire at Eastway Tank can be seen in these drone images from late Friday afternoon. (CBC)

‘My heart goes out to their families’

Bastien said he worked with all the dead or missing people after Thursday’s explosion and fire, describing them as friends and “good people.”

Among the victims was the plant’s new supervisor, who described Bastien as “a good man”; a young woman who under his father trained as a welder; a French-speaking immigrant from Africa who “was always a happy smiling laughing guy at work and my father loved him and I too”; another man who “always told jokes and was fun to be with”; and a man from Deep River, Ont., who loves fishing and off-roading in his Jeep.

One survivor was taken by air to Toronto, where he was treated in the burn unit at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center. The hospital refused 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, president and owner of Eastway Tank, issued a statement Friday saying it was “with great sadness that we learned that one of our colleagues died as a result of the tragic explosion, with five left missing and one in hospital. . “

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

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

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