A bizarre incident at Coquitlam Centre that could have cost a garbage truck driver his life remains under investigation by WorkSafeBC.
On Friday morning, rescue crews were called to the mall after a beam fell on top of a Smithrite truck, pinning the driver inside the cab for 45 minutes.
Early indications are the driver had his loader up at the time of impact, though that has not been confirmed.
Later that night, the beam was removed, while the truck was taken to a secure location for further investigation.
That area of the mall was open to the public the next day.
According to Coquitlam deputy fire chief Greg Mayberry, the beam was just acting as a faÃ§ade to hold up a sign.
The beam was part of the original mall built back in 1979. Mayberry noted the rest of the structure of the mall appeared to be fine.
As for the driver, he was taken to hospital.
He reportedly suffered three cracked vertebrae; burns to his hands and smoke inhalation from an ensuing fire after the beam fell on the cab.
Mayberry credited the quick work by a couple of Purolator employees for putting out the flames before crews arrived.
"All the stars aligned on this one without a doubt," he told the Tri-Cities NOW, adding the two Good Samaritans went above and beyond what's expected of the public.
Mayberry also noted the fire department had recently been going through auto extrication training in July - skills put to the test during the incident.
The mall's marketing director, Deborah Stetz, said it could be weeks before engineers and architects decide what to do about the beam that was destroyed.
She also noted there were no particular plans in place for that area of the mall at this point.
"We're just happy the fellow involved is going to be OK," Stetz said.
Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart was at the scene and suggested it was lucky no one else was injured.
"I'm not sure you can possibly foresee this," he said. However, he did question the placement of the beam, adding he never understood why it was put there.
The incident at Coquitlam Centre will likely bring to memory a similar horrific crash that killed a 40-year-old man back in July 2005.
A Waste Management garbage truck was heading east on the Lougheed Highway near Dewdney Trunk Road, when the container on the back of the truck hit a pedestrian overpass.
The impact collapsed the concrete structure, killing the driver.
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