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

North Island Gazette file photo of Port Hardy council.
Port Hardy council to send RCMP officer a letter of congratulations

Mayor Dennis Dugas said Corp. Chris Voller ‘obviously earned it and he did a great job up here’

The Scott’s jewelry boxes and whales’ tails pedestal bowls. (Debra Lynn photo)
Port Alice woodworking business flourishes with word-of-mouth promotion

The Scotts have depended on local promotion and word-of-mouth connections to expand their business

Renovations are underway at the Old Schoolhouse as Cafe Guido gets ready to turn it into the Copper & Kelp Market. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Cafe Guido purchases ‘dying’ Old Schoolhouse store to save it from extinction

After purchasing it they decided to give it a new name, coming up with ‘The Copper & Kelp Market’

A wolf was seen in a resident’s backyard in Port Hardy. (Al Dodd photo)
Conservation officers awaiting reports of wolves at the door in Port Hardy

Wildlife officials need more direct concrete information before reacting, as social media buzzes

Gourmet donuts made by Jesus Poem and Athena Guy. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Italian gourmet donuts a hit in the North Island

Poem said the feedback on the gourmet donuts has been fantastic

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O���Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Vivian Hermansen, Snuneymuxw First Nation, initiator of petition e-3281. Photo by Karen Evans.
Status card wait times an example of systemic racism, says Campbell River woman

Snuneymuxw woman launches petition as people waiting up to two years, as passports take three weeks

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
Interior Health locks out Kelowna martial arts gym following COVID violations

Actions were taken after all other steps to gain compliance were exhausted, says health authority

A man who allegedly spat at and yelled racial slurs at an Asian family was arrested for hate-motivated assault Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
Arrest made after man spits, yells anti-Asian racial slurs at Victoria mom and kids

The man was arrested for hate-motivated assault near Quadra Elementary School Tuesday

A lady wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada may find it challenging to reach herd immunity from COVID-19, experts say

Level of immunity among the population changes with the variants, especially the more transmissible strains

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

The courthouse in Nanaimo, B.C. (News Bulletin file)
Island man sentenced in Nanaimo after causing a dog unnecessary pain and suffering

Kiefer Tyson Giroux, 26, of Nanoose Bay, given six-month sentence

Following a one-year pause due to the pandemic, the Snowbirds were back in the skies over the Comox Valley Wednesday (May 5) morning. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Video: Snowbirds hold first training session in Comox Valley in more than 2 years

The team will conduct their training from May 4 to 26 in the area

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

Most Read