• Stuart Benson

Rock and debris ‘cannoned’ into Wakefield Elementary

Broken rocks from the construction site across from Wakefield Elementary School, where an approximately five-inch rock was sent flying into the school’s front yard after it ‘cannoned’ out of a blasting-hole. Stuart Benson photo

Flying rock lands in schoolyard, spooks parents

By Stuart Benson

A five-inch chunk of rock-shrapnel was sent flying into the front yard of Wakefield Elementary School on Sept. 29, after a blasting-hole being used at the construction site across the street "cannoned" and a 5-inch rock landed mere feet away from a 6th Grade student, who was reading with his class in the school’s garden.

Krista Cooke, whose children attend the school, said her son, Jack, told her when he returned home from school that day that, “one of the kids in my class was almost squished flat.” She added her son’s comment to a Facebook post she had created earlier that day, inquiring about the loud sirens and blasting sounds she had heard that morning.

Based on the nearly 68 comments on Cooke’s Facebook post, most parents reacted to this news as if the sky had fallen. However, from her son's perspective, it was just another rock.

“We sorta got bored with it and then we threw it somewhere, so some other kids started playing with it,” Jack explained. “I got to pick it up; it was like five and a half inches.”

Jack said his friend, who had been carrying a bench over to the garden in the front yard, was almost hit with the rock at the beginning of fifth period, just after they heard a loud “BEEP” before the blast.

“It was a pretty normal day, other than a lot of noise while we were trying to read outside,” Jack explained.

Wakefield Principal Julie Fram-Greig said that the construction site had done blasting of this kind before without incident, but even she could tell that this particular one was different the moment it happened.

“You could tell it was a bigger blast,” Fram-Greig explained. “There was a cloud of dust and debris that flew over onto the playground, it wasn’t just a rock.”

Fram-Greig said she also found a piece of rubber tire that had been flung onto the bike path, which runs parallel to Chemin Riverside where the school is located, from across the street.

“I think they [the workers at the construction site] knew something went wrong,” Fram-Greig said. “They didn’t come after to see if everyone was ‘ok’ and when we sent a staff member over to check, they weren’t very receptive.”

She also said she hasn’t seen anyone back at the site working on it since the incident and that both the police and municipality are aware of what happened.

The Low Down reached out to Jean-Napoleon Drouin, who identified himself on Krista Cooke’s Facebook post as the person responsible for firing the blast, but he refused to provide comment.

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