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

Just Posted

teaser
Dynamic drives and pitiful putting helped even the score

Another Ladies’ Night has come and gone. This season is passing by… Continue reading

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Traffic cop humour

He demands to know what sort of device had been used to measure his speed

(L-r) Cody Lee with six-year-old daughter Paisley, and Joshua Burleigh with his seven-year-old son Noah are extremely thankfull to Heffley Creek residents and First Responders for the help they received after their canoe capsized in rapids on the North Thompson River on Sunday, June 13. (Facebook photo)(L-r) Cody Lee with six-year-old daughter Paisley, and Joshua Burleigh with his seven-year-old son Noah are extremely thankfull to Heffley Creek residents and First Responders for the help they received after their canoe capsized in rapids on the North Thompson River on Sunday, June 13. (Facebook photo)
North Thompson River canoe trip almost ends in disaster

‘Only way I managed to get us to shore was the thought of not letting my boy drown’

A for sale sign is shown in by new homes in Beckwith, Ont., just outside Ottawa, on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Thompson-Okanagan population grew despite COVID-19: report

The Chartered Professional Accountants of BC said there are 8,462 new residents in the region

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

Kelowna General Hospital. (File photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna General Hospital declared over

Three people tested positive for the virus — two patients and one staff — one of whom died

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

Most Read