Calgary Herald from Calgary, Alberta, Canada on September 28, 1989 · 1
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Calgary Herald from Calgary, Alberta, Canada · 1

Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Issue Date:
Thursday, September 28, 1989
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EQSi MURDER TRIAL Court hears Rafuse had James Bond fantasies B1 NORSTAR LOANS Province threatening to take legal action A3 Ann Landers ........ C2 Beat Gl-8 Births, Deaths HI Bridge H3 Business .....Dl-12 Careers... Dll City B1-7.C4-5 Classified Hl-12 Comics ... .. ..F7 Crossword F7 Editorials ........... A4 Gardening .. E14-15 Home Tech.... Fl-6 Horoscope................F7 letters A6-7 Life Today Cl-3 Sports El-13 Television ................G6 Sunny, 22C, Page H3 35 CENTS Outside Calgary 50 Minimum THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 1989 Home edition IklJ'IrtKi THUMPED I Zrn Oilers 8 Z-J Flames 5 & ( OXIC By Mario Toneguzzi and Sheldon Alberts (Herald writers) Downtown Calgary merchants are today counting the "substantial" cost of an electrical explosion that forced the closure of scores of businesses and the evacuation of up to 2,000 workers. One estimate put the loss to the core economy between hundreds of thousands of dollars and as high as $1 million. The blast at 2nd Street S.W. and Stephen Avenue Mall knocked out power for several hours and sparked a toxic fumes scare that spurred the clearance of all nearby buildings. The downtown Bay store closed up shop for the day. and other merchants lost valuable lunch-hour business after two maintenance workers' jackham-mer struck an electrical cable in an open work pit on 2nd Street at 10.15 a.m. The jackhammer struck some low voltage wires, burning through to six high- voltage wires which then set off the explosion and fire. The two men and another, deeper in the pit, escaped without injury. ' Four of the lines carried 13,-000 volts and two carried 25,000 volts. "It was like the Fourth of July in that hole," said Scott Davies, who was in the Scotia Bank building, immediately southeast of the blast site. "The sparks were at least 10 feet in the air. The explosion rocked the glass on the building," said Davies. "At one time it sounded like the block was going to go up," said Jose Nevarro, who watched the explosion from the second floor of the Lancaster building. Thick black smoke poured from the hole. The PVC piping, which is made from polyvinyl chloride, covering the cables released hydrogen chloride gas, said Al Borgardt of the city's hazardous materials department, but the amount released wasn't enough to cause any harm. The gas can be deadly if in- haled in large amounts, he said, adding six buildings in the area were tested and readings were "negligible to nil." "We were very fortunate nobody was hurt," said district fire chief George Forster. "Taken in enough quantity, it's fatal." When fire department crews arrived, they couldn't douse the flames because the wires were charged with thousands of volts of electricity. "If you hit it with water, you're going to create an explosion," said Forster. 'Blue flash. . .we scattered' Y k ' ' M L fl ERES: Close to jackhammer Top journalist gave anti-war names By Peter Calamai (Southam News) WASHINGTON - One of Canada's best-known journalists gave names of opponents of the Vietnam, war to U.S. authorities in 1968, Southam News has learned. Peter Worthington, a co-founder of the Toronto Sun and now editor of the Ottawa Sun, gave lists of anti-war activists from Canada and other countries to the U.S. Justice Department. The 282 names including 80 Canadians, 33 Americans and 167 n ins . , IWIiiiiiiii llfefil . A READY FOR ACTION: Firefighters wait for electrical supply to be D Tom Keyser B1 "There's thousands upon thousands of volts. It would be a dandy. It would leave a large crater in the ground." But businesses were hit hard with one retailer, who wanted to remain anonymous, estimating a $l-million loss to area businesses. "It hurt us a lot," said Ginette Plante, general manager of The Unicorn, about a half a block from the explosion site. She estimated she lost about $9,000 because of the explosion, which forced her to close the restaurant and bar for the day. Bay department store manager Don Bucholz said it was difficult to put a dollar figure on his store's losses, but added: "It's Tibor Eres saw a blue flash and scrambled for his life. "It was very scary," said Eres, 27. "There were three of us in the hole. Two of us were on the jackhammer when it happened. "We got a blue flash and the last thing I saw was a ball of smoke We scattered. We got out as fast as we could." Officials say Eres and the other city workers are fortunate to be alive following Wednesday's downtown blast. Eres and another man were working by the jackhammer, about two metres below street level with a third about five metres down. They were part of a crew enlarging an underground vault to create room for more power lines, said Eric Cameron, public affairs coordinator for the city's electrical services. The men were jackhammering a concrete duct when the hammer slipped on to wires, Cameron said. "It was an accident. Jackhammers are hard things to control in the best of conditions. They were observing all of the appropriate safety practices." Cameron and witnesses said the men responded quickly, leaving the hole and clearing passers-by from the area. "The man in the pit was up that ladder in two seconds," said Jose Nevarra, who watched from the second floor of the Lancaster building, which sits on the northwest corner of the intersection. Fire department Capt. Gord Cantley said the three workers were "extremely lucky" to escape from the hole without serious injury. Latin Americans -r- were immediately sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation by the department's internal security division. At least two dozen of the Canadian names bear FBI markings suggesting they may have been indexed for potential links to foreign subversion. In a document from FBI files, the word "informant" is handwritten below Worthington's name. An adjacent handwritten word is not legible. A book called Are You Now or Have You Ever Been in the FBI '5JrT.wi "'tx. substantial. It's certainly going to hurt us. We're going to have to work like hell (today) to recoup that." Other businesses, among the 50 retail outlets in the area reported losses of anywhere from $100 to $3,000. Police cordoned off 2nd Street S.W. from 9th Avenue to 7th Avenue and from 2nd Street to 1st Street along the Stephen Avenue Mall and power was out from 9th Avenue to the Bow River and between 2nd Street and Centre Street. Traffic snarled as police officers had to guide motorists through unlit intersections. Fire department Capt. Gord Cantley said office workers smelled the smoke as far up as the 11th floor on Bankers Hall. Files, an authoritative unofficial guide to FBI parlance, says "informant" customarily means a "person who supplies information on a regular basis." It is not known whether Worthington who in 1968 was a reporter for the Toronto Telegram supplied information on a regular basis as efforts to reach him were unsuccessful. Many well-known Canadians were on the Worthington- supplied lists as organizers, sponsors or supporters of an anti-war conference proposed for Montreal in 1 fi-tJJ ft i cut before turning on hose. The DOWNTOWN TOXIC SCARE - The chain of events that led to business closures and evacuation. PI Strange floor Bankers evacuation as precautionary H Buildings evacuated because of toxic smoke travelling In their f direction. Boot & I Canada ICI.B.C. Jean Trust bank Sleoheri f Ave. Man . ... l Vs.. rose"-'ty fTT October 1968 and held the following month. Included were: Denis Lazure and Claude Charron, both later prominent in the Parti Quebecois government; Russell Paulley, then Manitoba leader of the CCF, later renamed the NDP; Journalists June Callwood of Toronto and Evelyn Dumas of Montreal; Vancouver city politician Harry Rankin; Peace activist James Endi-cott, pianist Anton Kuerti and Dr. Henry Morgentaler. sore t . i-'i J L: y Larry MacDougal photos, Calgary Herald two combined are explosive smell on 1 1th Hall forces I a measure. .9th Ave. i.Wr 8th Ave. S.W. Q Explosion and fire occurs at 1 0:1 5 am in an open pit - burning PVC (polyvinyl chloride) piping - releasing toxic fumes. Herald Graphic to U.S. Worthington's direct role for these particular lists is acknowledged in a memo sent to FBI director J. Edgar Hoover on July 16, 1968 by Walter Yeagley, then head of the internal security division of the U.S. Department of Justice. "The attached were received today during a conversation by an attorney of this Division with Mr. Worthington, who says he received . . . the attached lists from his own sources in Canada. He See WORTHINGTON, Page A2 Local woman slain in Florida By Lisa Church (Herald writer) A 36-year-old Calgary woman waiting for her convenience store-robber husband to be freed from a U.S. jail has died in a bizarre hostage-taking incident in Florida. And in a savage twist of irony, Darlene Messer, a former Forest Lawn high school student, was working as a convenience store clerk , in Lake City, Fla., 80 kilometres west of Jacksonville, when she died. She was abducted by her assailant Sept. 18 as she worked the graveyard shift. Her badly beaten body was discovered two days later in a swampy creek about 80 kilometres west of Lake City by a railway employee. "She was probably killed the night she was taken from the store, because her body had been in the creek for quite some time," said her shaken father Ken Grant, a ' 52-year-old TransAlta Utilities worker in Calgary. Darlene who in Calgary went by her first hus-; band's name of Teney had moved to Florida two years ago to marry her pen-pal, a -prison inmate serving a 12-year sentence for involvement in the robbery and shooting murder of a convenience store clerk. "Isn't that just irony?" Grant said. - Grant said Charles Mes- ser, who is serving his time, in a nearby penitentiary, was -scheduled for parole at the -end of this month. See ARRESTED, Page A2 ' Via cuts to bump 3,500 workers (Herald writers-Southam News) OTTAWA The inner cabinet has given the green light for drastic cuts to Via Rail halving passenger rail service in Canada and eliminating 3,500 jobs. The move was confirmed Wednesday by a government source.!; Transport Minister Ben'oit Bouchard has presented his plan to slash $400 million in annual Via subsidies to cabinet's powerful priorities and planning committee and has been given the go ahead to announce the cuts within the next two weeks, the source said. A weekend train between Calgary and Vancouver will be the only leg of Via Rail's southern transcontinental "Canadian" service to survive. During and after Question Period, Bouchard refused to say whether the decision had been made but defended the need for cuts, arguing "it is not necessary to put $700 million (in subsidies) into a form of transportation not used by Canadians." Leaked documents obtained by NDP critic Iain Angus and Liberal Winnipeg MP David Walker revealed Bouchard plans to drop 11 routes and reduce service in two others, beginning Jan. 15. Included in the cuts will be services in the Maritimes, Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia. But the proposals also include a suggestion that the Jasper-to-Prince Rupert, B.C., service will run only in the summer months. Bouchard's cuts will enable the government to cut subsidies from $651 million last year to $250 million a year by 1994. . But cutting the Canadian route could drain the local economy of See TOURISM, Page A2

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