Saanich firefighters had to free trapped staff at Walmart after a driver rammed through the wall of a lower parking area Friday afternoon.
Deputy Chief Dan Wood told Black Press Media around 4:30 p.m. that firefighters were working to free staff members who were stuck in a freezer at the Uptown store. He said the driver, the only occupant – drove through the concrete wall and 20 feet into the store before coming to a stop – pinning a freezer door closed.
Wood said the driver was not seriously injured but was taken to the hospital afterward. All staff were safely removed and not seriously injured.
Saanich Police Department cordoned off the area and the Walmart remained closed Friday night. Firefighters stabilized the vehicle and suspended the ceiling to await structural engineers.
Const. Markus Anastasiades, public information officer for the Saanich police, told Black Press Media the incident was initially reported as an explosion because the sound of the driver crashing through the wall was so loud. He noted that concrete parkade walls aren’t as strong as many might assume. Officers are investigating the cause of the crash and remained on scene for several hours.
The next morning, police confirmed that the driver was not an elderly woman as previously reported by first responders on scene. The department could not comment on the actual age or gender of the driver at this time.
Drivers were advised to avoid the area as traffic was impacted.
Wood says all trapped employees have been evacuated and no serious injuries have been reported. The driver, an elderly woman, walked away with minor neck pain. The cause of the incident remains under investigation. 📸 via @SaanichFire pic.twitter.com/Wh0jKQ7FPw
— Devon Bidal (@devonscarlett) April 10, 2021