A City of Red Deer fire investigator works at the site of an explosion at Laser Wash car wash on 67A Street Red Deer Friday afternoon. (Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)

Car wash involved in 2017 explosion facing 26 safety act charges

Blast in August 2017 burned three people

Owners of a Red Deer car wash where three men were burned in a flash fire in 2017 are facing more than two dozen occupational health and safety charges.

The fire happened at Lazer Wash at 6104 67A St. when three people were moving a pump from one barrel to another on Aug. 18, 2017. It was reported at the time that a co-owner, an employee and a visitor were injured.

As a result of the improper use of flammable liquids, which also put the building and firefighters at risk, the property owners were charged by the Red Deer Fire Prevention Bureau under the Safety Codes Act.

The owners pleaded guilty in court in May 2018, resulting in a $30,000 fine. The maximum fine under the Safety Codes Act is $100,000 for each offence and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months.

In June, 26 charges were laid under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. They all relate to allegations of failing to ensure the safety and health of workers by failing to develop procedures for safely storing, using and handling various cleaning products, failing to properly train workers on material safety data sheets, and failing to develop procedures to be followed in the case of an emergency involving chemical products.

By law, investigations must be completed and decisions made on further actions within two years of an incident.

“Each investigation is unique and timelines vary depending on the investigation’s complexity,” said Alberta Labour spokesperson Brittany Baltimore.

Each charge carries a maximum fine of up to $500,000 or two years in prison or a combination of fines and prison time.

“Judges may also use creative sentencing options, including corporate probation,” said Baltimore.

The case returns to Red Deer provincial court on Oct. 16.

Lazer Wash did not respond to a request for comment.


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