Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Saanich Fire Department on the scene after a car crashed into the Walmart in Uptown. (Saanich Fire Department photo)Saanich Fire Department on the scene after a car crashed into the Walmart in Uptown. (Saanich Fire Department photo)
Saanich Fire Department on the scene after a car crashed into the Walmart in Uptown. (Photo courtesy Dan Wood)Saanich Fire Department on the scene after a car crashed into the Walmart in Uptown. (Photo courtesy Dan Wood)
Firefighters respond to a report of an ‘explosion’ April 9 at Uptown Walmart. The call turned out to be a car driven through a wall and 20 feet into the deli area of the store. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)Firefighters respond to a report of an ‘explosion’ April 9 at Uptown Walmart. The call turned out to be a car driven through a wall and 20 feet into the deli area of the store. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Firefighters respond to a report of an ‘explosion’ April 9 at Uptown Walmart. The call turned out to be a car driven through a wall and 20 feet into the deli area of the store. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)Firefighters respond to a report of an ‘explosion’ April 9 at Uptown Walmart. The call turned out to be a car driven through a wall and 20 feet into the deli area of the store. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

After two trapped employees were rescued from the Saanich mall, where a driver crashed into a Walmart Friday evening, crews worked to safely remove the vehicle from the building.

Just after 4:30 p.m. on April 9, first responders rushed to Uptown Shopping Centre, where the driver had plowed through the cinder-block wall of the parkade and into the adjacent Walmart, trapping several employees in a freezer.

Deputy Fire Chief Frank Macdonald, the duty chief on scene, told Black Press Media on Saturday the driver “launched (the car) 100 per cent right into the wall,” went through the store’s suspended ceiling and fell down 10 feet into the deli area below.

The vehicle, pieces of ceiling, and other debris, wedged the freezer door shut, trapping the employees.

READ ALSO: Saanich firefighters free trapped workers at Uptown Walmart

The incident, initially reported as an explosion because the crash was so loud, did not result in any serious injuries and the driver “self-rescued,” Macdonald said. He added that it was “extremely lucky that no one was gravely injured” because “the level of devastation under the vehicle was extreme.”

The crash damaged the store’s sprinkler system, so the water, power and gas had to be shut off.

Firefighters took command of the incident during the rescue and stabilizing process, before turning things over to police who remained on scene for several hours after to investigate the cause of the crash.

“Our crews did a fantastic job,” Macdonald said, noting that it was quick thinking that led to the employees being rescued through a hole cut in the backside of the freezer, away from the debris.

READ ALSO: Owner of large, off-leash dog that fatally mauled small pup in Saanich park identified

Fire crews returned later Friday evening to help remove the vehicle from the store with the help of a tow truck. A new hole had to be cut in the parkade wall, a floor below, with the help of a structural engineer to remove it because crews “couldn’t take it back out the same hole without lifting it up 10 feet,” Macdonald explained.

The next morning, police issued a statement saying the department could not comment on the driver’s age or gender, beyond confirming it was not an elderly woman, as previously reported by first responders on scene.

Macdonald noted that firefighters are trained to deal with these types of scenarios – rescues, cars that have been driven into buildings and structural collapses – but don’t usually see them simultaneously. He couldn’t estimate the cost of the repairs, but said it would likely be significant.

Walmart remained closed Saturday.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

car crashDistrict of Saanichfirefighters

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

Interfor’s Castlegar mill is getting $35 million in upgrades. Photo by: John Boivin
Interfor to invest $35 million at Castlegar mill

Project will enhance productivity and competitiveness

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

FILE PHOTO
Second doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available, as AstraZeneca supply runs low: Interior Health

Province expecting large volumes of Pfizer BioNTech as age-based cohort immunization program ramps up

Greg Nesteroff and Eric Brighton, the historians behind popular Facebook page Lost Kootenays, are set to release a book of the same name and have just unveiled its cover showing the ghostly Hotel in Slocan City shortly before its 1953 demolition. Photo courtesy of Greg Nesteroff and Eric Brighton.
Popular historical Facebook page Lost Kootenays set to release book

128-page hard copy documenting history of East and West Kootenays coming this fall

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

Most Read