Two Windsor Plywood employees were trapped under lumber after several shelves collapsed at the northeast Edmonton store Saturday morning.

Fire crews responded with their  technical rescue team to Windsor Plywood in the area of 55 Street and 128 Avenue at about 10 a.m.

An employee told CTV News staff was counting inventory when he heard a domino effect of bundles crashing down.

“I was up in the front row, and it sounded like it came from the back aisle – about four aisles away,” Aric Kuecy said. “I guess the initial noise wasn’t much. I’d just assumed that it was a bundle of mouldings falling over, and then I can definitely hear shelves falling over after that. Like I said, it was just a domino – one, two, three, four.

“There was quite a bit. It was mouldings and railings-- so really long pieces-- anywhere from 10 to 14 feet long and about three inches wide.”

Kuecy was one of the four people impacted. He and another person were able to get out on their own, but two workers were stuck under piles of lumber.

“They were calling out, yelling for us,” Kuecy said. “Just yelling, ‘help, help, we’re over here.’ I saw the one woman, she stuck her hand out – she was buried in between to shelves and a bunch of railings.”

Up to 30 police officers assisted firefighters. Police say it took crews approximately 30 minutes to clear the area and rescue the workers pinned underneath the shelves.

“[EPS] ran in there shoulder-to-shoulder with the Edmonton Fire Department and just started throwing lumber around,” Staff Sgt. Randy Wickins said. “When we arrived, it was really unclear whether or not there were other people trapped underneath, and there was a massive pile of lumber.”

District Fire Chief Brian Lees said two women were taken to the hospital. One woman suffered a minor injury, and another woman – the owner’s wife – was taken to the hospital with an arm injury.

“Seeing the volume of lumber that fell over, it’s amazing that nobody else was injured, and they were lucky to get away with the injuries that they have,” Wickins said.

Edmonton police said it’s too early to tell what caused the incident, but Kuecy said the shelves may not have been bolted down.

“From what I understand, the shelves were not bolted down, so there’s a lot of weight up in the air – 14 feet up,” he said. “And then someone was up on a ladder, up at the very top, and they tipped the first shelf over and then shelf after shelf after that came crashing down.”

Occupational Health and Safety officers arrived on scene after the rescues were complete to begin their investigation.


With files from Angela Jung