Ottawa cops, paramedics hurt in explosion
OTTAWA - Two paramedics suffered serious burns while another medic and two Ottawa police officers sustained minor injuries Wednesday during a training exercise that involved the use of explosives.
The exercise involved forced-entry techniques, said Anthony Di Monte, chief of the Ottawa paramedics.
"They were using concussive explosive devices to do breach entries with the tactical team," Di Monte said.
"Their injuries were as a result of that. There was a blast and flame, so they have burn injuries; they don't seem to have traumatic injuries."
Di Monte said the two men are in intensive care.
"They have second-degree burns in the hands, behind their legs and some of their body," he said. "They are not life-threatening. They are stable at this time."
The two men, described as being in their mid-30s, are very experienced in their jobs, he added.
"These are elite paramedics that are highly skilled and highly trained to work in these types of situations."
Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau said the team was practising how to force an entry to a home.
The exercise — part of a regular training routine that involves Ottawa police working closely with the RCMP and other emergency services — was held in Kanata, a suburb west of Ottawa.
Bordeleau would provide only scant details of exactly what happened.
"The training exercise revolved around forced-entry explosives, which involves the use of small charges of explosives to open up doorways and windows," he said.
"They were in proximity of the detonation and the ensuing gases that would have been released."
Bordeleau said because the paramedics are considered civilians, the Special Investigations Unit is involved in the investigation.
"Explosives are used in training exercises and real live operations to assist officers to forcibly enter into residences or businesses to assist them in getting access to those buildings," he said.
"What type of explosives, how it was detonated I can't comment on because that will be part of the Special Investigations Unit investigation."