Blast Case Adjourned

The court case against a company that owns an oil refinery where an explosion killed two workers and injured five others has been adjourned to Oct. 21.

Hub Oil Co. Ltd. faces eight criminal charges, including two counts of criminal negligence causing death in the blast that levelled the southeast Calgary plant in August 1999.

Earl Wilson, a lawyer for Hub Oil, told provincial court judge Manfred Delong on Wednesday that he needs more time to prepare his case and sift through mounds of paperwork.

``We have to review it to make a proper assessment in the case,'' Wilson told reporters outside court.

``It's not measured in inches, it's measured in feet,'' he said of the numerous case files.

One of the charges includes committing an illegal act that endangered the health and safety of the public.

After the blast, a huge fire sent a massive black plume of toxic smoke into a residential area, forcing hundreds of people to flee their homes in a large evacuation of the area.

For more than nine hours, the fire raged out of control, with toxic black smoke spewing into the air and ash and debris raining down on homes.

Residents were later warned not to eat vegetables or fruits contaminated with the oily residue that settled throughout a large area. It was also recommended that residents wash the outside of their homes with soapy water.

Outside court, Bobbi-Jo Eckhard said she is eager for the court case to proceed. Her husband Ryan died in the explosion.