WARNING: The footage below may be disturbing to some viewers. Surveillance video shows the moment an explosion occurred in Nanaimo’s Discontent City, and when police arrived at the scene.
One man has been taken to hospital with severe burns after an explosion and fire at Discontent City in Nanaimo.
“The explosion was quite loud,” said Shea O’Grady, who was awoken from his sleep a block away and took video of the aftermath. “It shook the earth and my heart dropped immediately because it was something I hadn’t felt before and didn’t expect.”
Karen Fry, Nanaimo Fire Rescue chief, has confirmed there was an explosion inside one of the tents at around 2:40 a.m. One man was transported to hospital with severe burns to his feet and legs, Fry said.
WATCH: An explosion, that could be felt kilometres away, rocked Nanaimo’s tent city. It happened at early this morning and seriously injured a man who was in the tent. Kendall Hanson has more on the man’s injuries and what caused the blast.
Fire investigators determined the man was doing something with fireworks inside his tent.
“It was ignited by a discarded cigarette and resulted in a very loud explosion causing a severe injury to the occupant of the tent,” said Fry.
He’s still in the hospital with second and third-degree burns to his feet and legs.
Nanaimo’s fire chief says having fireworks and cigarettes inside a tent flies against the fire orders approved by the courts.
But the court also denied the city’s request for an enforcement order earlier this month.
“We will continue to try our best to work with those occupants but at this point, our hands are pretty much tied as to what we can do to enforce it,” said Fry.
During August, BC Ambulance responded to calls at tent city 19 times and the fire department went for fire-related calls five times.
And officials worry there will be more as the city waits for a Supreme Court decision on it’s application to remove those staying at the camp.