To his family, Rick Bastien was everything.
“Our dad was amazing, he was the rock of our family, he was so caring and kind,” said daughter Tracy Pritchard.
“He would always at the drop of a hat be there for his kids and for his family,” said son Josh Bastien, who for a time, worked with his dad at Eastway Tank on Merivale Road.
“I seemed to always kind of gravitate closer to where dad was working so I could learn as much as I could.”
Rick Bastien was one of six people killed in an explosion at Eastway Tank on Jan. 13. The cause is under investigation.
“We want closure, we want answers, this shouldn’t have happened and we’re just devastated,” said Pritchard.
“Now there’s a catastrophe,” said Bastien. “Everyone that died I worked with at that place so it’s really hitting me hard.”
Josh Bastien, himself a former Eastway Tank employee is among those alleging numerous safety issues at the site including previous fires, improper chemical storage and dumping material by the train tracks.
In a statement, Eastway Tank said the allegations are unfounded.
“We are all mourning the loss of our friends and family, and I share the immense pain, sadness and anger being felt,” said Neil Greene, president and owner. “With respect, these allegations are unfounded. Eastway Tank has always worked to maintain the highest safety standards. We are working closely with investigators and are cooperating fully to get to the bottom of what happened.”
In a statement, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development says it has completed five field visits to Eastway Tank and issued four orders on June 13, 2017, that included the company repairing the exhaust pipe ventilation system, preparing a written safe working procedure for welding and taking steps to protect workers from exposure to hazardous chemicals. All orders have been complied with, the ministry said.
A number of parallel investigations are ongoing. Ottawa Police said Wednesday remains have been recovered and the process of identifying them, which will take days if not weeks, is underway.
“I have two kids, Liam and Wyatt who he absolutely adored,” said Pritchard of her dad.
“He had pictures of them in his toolbox at work and that’s literally what got him through his day sometimes,” added Josh Bastien.
“He would always have logical advice for me and that got me through and I just can’t imagine what it’s going to be like now to not have that connection,” said Bastien. “I’m lucky I have other family members that are going to be there and step up but nothing is ever going to replace my father.”
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