Blast that rocked Yellowknife caused by scheduled blasting, says city

·2 min read
Dennis Nelner said he snapped this photo of the plume, looking north toward the city's dump, from the parking lot of the Explorer Hotel.  (Dennis Nelner/Facebook - image credit)
Dennis Nelner said he snapped this photo of the plume, looking north toward the city's dump, from the parking lot of the Explorer Hotel. (Dennis Nelner/Facebook - image credit)

The City of Yellowknife said an explosion that shook buildings, left a billowing plume and resulted in firefighters investigating the scene was the result of scheduled blasting.

On Friday afternoon, Richard McIntosh, a spokesperson for the City of Yellowknife, said in an email the city had been provided a notification that blasting would be taking place at RTL's quarry, located near the Solid Waste Facility, between 12 and 8 p.m.

The blasting was being done by Break-Away Drilling and Blasting Ltd. and would include the blasting of a single quarry shot.

The email offered the first details on the event provided by both the City of Yellowknife or the RCMP since the blast happened at 5:40 p.m. on Thursday.

Fire trucks were spotted heading north along Highway 4 toward the dump afterward.

Peter Sheldon/CBC
Peter Sheldon/CBC

McIntosh said firefighters attended the scene as the department received calls from concerned residents.

Dispatch sent a fire truck and and water truck as a public safety measure, McIntosh said, to ensure the area where the blast occurred was secured and safe. No injuries were reported.

Dennis Nelner, who was on the phone with his wife at the time, heard and felt the blast.

"My first thought was thunder," he said. A few seconds later, he snapped some photos of the plume.

"Could hear emergency vehicles rushing to the scene, that's when I became concerned," he said.

It's not uncommon for there to be planned blasting around Yellowknife, and such incidents have left residents scratching their heads in the past — like a blast carried out at a quarry near the Solid Waste Facility back in 2018. In 2009, seismologists with Natural Resources Canada even mistook a planned explosion at the defunct Con Mine for a small earthquake.

McIntosh referred all questions concerning the blast to the territorial government.

Peter Sheldon/CBC
Peter Sheldon/CBC
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