In a controlled detonation, the Saskatoon police’s explosive disposal unit safely vapourized eight litres of dangerous and reactive Ethel-ether.
“If it gets to a source, it will explode,” said Saskatoon’s assistant fire chief Glenn Ledray. “It’s two four-litre aluminum containers that were found last week and they were past its date, expired as of 2008.”
At around 2 p.m. on Friday, the fire department – with the help of the police – evacuated ALS Environmentals at 819 – 58th Street East in Saskatoon.
Ledray said employees at ALS noticed the expired containers of ether a week ago and had set an appointment to have them removed. Envirotech was on scene removing the two aluminum containers of ether when they noticed the containers were bulging.
Ledray said the bulges indicated the ether was already in a reactive state – it was in danger of being explosive – and it needed to be dealt with immediately.
The entire ALS building was evacuated and road restrictions were in place on 58th Street East.
Adam Bissett was trying to get back to work nearby, but he couldn’t get past the road block.
Once they secured the ether, the police’s explosive disposal team set up a corridor of traffic restrictions between ALS and 60th Street and Faithful Avenue, where they rigged the ether with an explosive device.
Ledray said the explosion is expected to dispose of the ether safely and there is no risk to the public or neighbouring businesses.
“It’s going to be in an area where it won’t affect anything but the potential is there right now if this product did go, there would be considerable damage,” Ledray said.
The explosive unit waited until after 5:30 p.m. for rush-hour traffic to die down before detonating the ether.