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Electrical fire injures worker, damages CNRL oilsands plant

Employee treated for minor injuries


(Canadian OH&S News) — A fire sparked an evacuation and injured an employee at a Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) oilsands plant near Fort McMurray, Alta., on the evening of Sept. 11.

CNRL spokesperson Julie Woo said in a press statement that the corporation’s staff had responded immediately to an electrical building fire at its Horizon site that evening and that the onsite first responders had extinguished the blaze. Workers in the area of the fire were evacuated as a precautionary measure, she added.

“As a result of the incident, one individual was sent for medical evaluation and treatment for minor injuries,” said Woo.

The company notified the appropriate regulatory agencies. “The cause of the fire is being investigated,” said Woo, “and we are assessing to determine the extent of damage to the building.”

The Horizon plant had been fully shut down that day in preparation for a 45-day maintenance period. “Currently,” added Woo, “there has been no impact to our operations or production.”

Trent Bancarz, a spokesperson for Alberta Labour, told COHSN that occupational health and safety officials are also investigating the incident. “It’s mainly because it’s a fire,” he explained. “It would fall under the fire and explosion category.”

Bancarz added that nobody else had been injured in the incident and that the fire had been contained quickly.

“He was taken to a hospital, but apparently, his injuries are minor,” he said about the victim.

The CNRL Horizon site produces high-quality synthetic crude oil with an oilsands-mining and bitumen-extraction plant with onsite bitumen upgrading with associated infrastructure, according to information from the corporation’s website. The plant is located just north of Fort McMurray, in the Athabasca region.