Two injured as Brockville paratransit bus hits building

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Two people were injured on Friday, one seriously, as a transit bus slammed into a brick wall at the Brockville Health Unit headquarters.

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Paramedics, firefighters and police responded to the Laurier Boulevard building at 1:46 p.m. after the bus hit part of its west wall.

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While the details remained chilling, Brockville Police Sgt. Eric Ruigrok said two people were injured, the driver and a passenger. Both had been removed from the vehicle and taken to Brockville General Hospital.

Deputy Fire Chief Chris Paul said the driver was seriously injured and was transferred to Kingston General Hospital. It was unclear at press time if the injuries were life threatening.

Police were still in the early stages of investigating the cause of the collision.

« At this time we believe it was a medical issue with the driver that caused the collision, » Ruigrok said.

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The driver and passenger were the only two occupants of the vehicle at the time, the sergeant added.

Paul confirmed the sergeant’s initial assessment of the cause, saying that responding firefighters received this information from the passenger.

“The passenger saw the driver; he thought something was wrong,” Paul said.

While the passenger was able to converse with his rescuers, the driver was unconscious when he was removed from the bus, Paul confirmed.

« The bus narrowly missed a 15ft main gas line, » he added.

The front cover of the paratransit bus remained inside a hole in the brick wall on the west side of the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit headquarters as police, firefighters and city employees continued to deal with the aftermath of the collision. A manager from the city’s paratransit contractor, Voyago, was also on the scene.

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A Brockville police officer works at the scene of a collision with a paratransit bus on Friday afternoon.  (RONALD ZAJAC/The recorder and the times)
A Brockville police officer works at the scene of a collision with a paratransit bus on Friday afternoon. (RONALD ZAJAC/The recorder and the times) .jpg

The building is usually filled with health officials and visiting members of the public who come in with various questions. The bus would have entered via Laurier Boulevard, along a narrow alley leading to the rear parking lot and the public entrance.

The building is located right next to the North Brockville Fire Station, so an ambulance was nearby to respond.

Paul said two fire engines responded with six firefighters.

Dr Linna Li, acting medical officer at the health unit, confirmed that none of the staff working inside the building had been injured.

The collision happened in a storage area and no one was in the room at the time, Li added.

“The building is obviously impacted and we are asking our staff to leave as a precaution,” she said.

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The health unit office will also be closed to the public until the condition of the building is assessed, Li said.

Brockville building officials had to assess the damage to the building.

Paul said electricity and gas were cut off from the office building while officials assessed its structural integrity.

In an email to The Recorder and Times, Mayor Matt Wren said he was also awaiting further details.

“Our thoughts are with those involved and we hope they recover quickly,” Wren wrote. “Voyageo is an important partner and provides a vital service to the community. We appreciate their very quick response to the situation.

(This story will be updated when more details become available..)

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