I was very interested by the story in the November (2013) issue by Walter Melnyk referring to the ship explosion in Vancouver at CPR Pier C. I, too, was there to witness the event.
At the time, I was a teenager employed in the dining room of the CPR train depot. The restaurant held about 100 patrons and it was at the height of the noon-hour rush when everything became chaos.
That ear-shattering report sent everyone into panic mode. One customer was down on the floor with his hands over his ears and most of the others escaped out the door or through the kitchen.
This meant passing all the equipment to go down a flight of stairs into the basement area and the up another staircase which led out to the street. Along with another staff member, I used this escape route.
When we reached the street, one of the other waitresses dashed out into traffic, right into the path of a fire truck that came screaming down the road with all sirens blaring. I instinctively reached for her hand, pulling her back in the nick of time. We didn’t know what had happened, but a policeman told us to go back into the building, which we did.
Plucking up our courage, we returned to the dining room to find all the counters and tables still in place with all dishes left with half-eaten meals and no customers in sight. I guess the CPR lost some money that day.
– Fay Beasley, Courtenay, B.C.