Fire crews in Saanich are responding to reports of a vehicle that crashed into a building at the Uptown Shopping Centre.
Vehicle into building and people trapped. #SaanichFire crews working to stabilize and rescue occupants.
Avoid the Uptown Mall area at Saanich road https://t.co/n3USsvvKPH
— Dan Wood 🇨🇦 (@firechiefwood) April 9, 2021
According to Dan Wood with Saanich Fire, part of a building’s structure has collapsed and people have been trapped as a result.
The vehicle was driving in the parkade before crashing through the lowest section of Walmart, near the elevators. The car, which “came in with a lot of force,” according to Wood, travelled approximately 20 feet through the wall and into the building.
The Saanich Fire Department says that the crash occurred in the lower level of Walmart. “Please avoid the area!” fire crews are advising the public.
Crews responding to a report of vehicle into Walmart lower level and structural collapse
Rescue of trapped workers in progress.
Please avoid the area! pic.twitter.com/LlHz1P2WGx
— Saanich Fire Department (@SaanichFire) April 9, 2021
In another update provided by Saanich Fire, crews say that the people who were trapped have been rescued. Crews were required to cut the doors of the cooler unit off in order to rescue the trapped employees. Now, authorities are working to stabilize the vehicle and suspended the ceiling. Crews are also waiting for structural engineers to arrive on scene and assess the damage.
Crews have rescued Walmart employees that were trapped in the commercial coolers.
Crews are working to stabilize the vehicle and suspended ceiling.
Building inspector and Engineers enroute to assess. pic.twitter.com/Ro6JjNGrjF
— Saanich Fire Department (@SaanichFire) April 10, 2021
The driver of the vehicle is being treated for minor injuries by BC Emergency Health Services and police are investigating the incident. Dan Wood with Saanich Fire told CHEK News that the woman who was behind the wheel was able to walk away from the incident.
Police tape can be seen across the front of Walmart and it appears the area has been secured by authorities on the Uptown Shopping Centre webcam.
The Saanich Police Department has indicated that traffic disruptions around the area are to be expected as authorities deal with the situation. Disruptions are anticipated on Blanshard, Douglas, Saanich and Ravine roads, according to police.
In a later update, Saanich PD said the driver of the vehicle was not an older female.
There may be traffic disruptions around Uptown Centre as @SaanichFire and @BC_EHS respond to an emergency inside the shopping complex. Please avoid Uptown Boulevard if possible and be prepared for disruptions on Blanshard, Douglas, Saanich, and Ravine roads.
— Saanich Police Traffic Safety Unit (@SPD_Traffic) April 9, 2021
It isn’t clear at this time what caused the crash.