A hazardous waste management company and its owners are facing 84 charges after a series of explosions occurred earlier this year, killing one worker and prompting the evacuation of nearby homes in St. Catharines, Ont.
Ssonix Products and three directors each face 21 charges under the Fire Prevention and Protection Act, the city said last week. If found guilty of any of these provincial offences, the company could be fined up to $500,000 and the directors up to $50,000.
Owner Steve Baker declined to comment when contacted by CBC Hamilton on Friday.
The city did not immediately respond to a request about the types of charges filed.
The explosion occurred on January 12 around 6:30 am. Ryan Konkin, 37, was the only worker in the building and was rushed to the hospital with “significant burns” but later died from his injuries, Fire Chief Dave Upper previously said.
Konkin’s fiancée, Natalia Sepúlveda-Lastra, said the first responders who treated him heard his last words.
“He managed to tell the nurses, ‘All I did was open the door.’ … I wish I had been the one to hear that,” Sepúlveda-Lastra said.
Residents living near the scene were forced to leave their homes for most of the day as firefighters worked to put out the fire.
Company requests reopening
The industrial waste processing business has been closed since the fire, but in August asked the province for environmental compliance approval so it could reopen, according to a provincial notice published online.
The main building that included an office, laboratory and warehouse was partially destroyed and later demolished, but Ssonix Products proposes limiting operations to one remaining building until the other can be rebuilt, the notice says. In the meantime, it would use three sea containers and a trailer.
The public can submit comments by September 29.
The company also faced a Ministry of Labor order earlier this year and was forced to comply with 11 requirements.
The orders are issued when a ministry inspector determines a violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Some examples include clearing debris to prevent trip hazards or protecting workers from electrical hazards.
Requirements are orders issued when an inspector has to obtain information or verify compliance. Examples include a requirement to provide documents or keep employees away from the location.