Ontario Construction News staff writer
A security guard working at Coastal GasLink’s remote construction site in northern B.C. says he and his co-workers are coming to terms with being attacked by a group of masked, axe-wielding assailants.
Coastal Gaslink continues to provide support individuals impacted by an attack last week at an active construction site.
“Our people were terrorized during this violent incident. In the last 24 hours, I have had the opportunity to hear from our workforce, Indigenous and community leaders, governments, and our partners, and all have expressed their outrage about this attack,” said Kent Wilfur, vice-president project delivery.
Trevor, a security guard, was back on the job the next night and plans to continue working at the site.
“You know, we’re just people out here trying to make a living and do a job. We have families … we have kids. You know, to have this terrifying event where people are trying to come at you with an axe and throwing axes through your window and trying to start a truck on fire, well … we just want to do our job, and work and go home to our families at the end of the day.”
He told his story on the company website.
Terrifying is the word he says sums up the feelings experienced when a group of people with axes and wearing masks and camouflage surrounded his truck on a remote forestry road during a night shift.
“To have somebody come at you with an axe is, you know, a whole other level of … fear,” said Trevor, who works as a security professional for Coastal GasLink.
He was in position at a gate on the Marten Forest Service Road that leads to the Morice River drill pad site where an overnight crew was busy doing prep work. Alone in his truck, he was updating a routine daily report of the day’s activities shortly after midnight.
“It’s very dark. We had a light tower there, so the area is lit up, but the area around it, the bush, is quite dark,” Trevor said in an interview with a company spokesperson. “I keep both windows rolled down, just a little bit, just so I can hear things … I could hear yelling all of a sudden.”
Positioned at the only access road in or out of the remote area approximately 60 kilometres southwest of Houston, Trevor says he could see fire and puffs of smoke to his right, down the Morice. As the yelling grew louder, he looked in the truck’s side mirror and saw several masked people coming up behind his vehicle carrying fire sticks and what appeared to be flares.
One individual started banging on the passenger side window, demanding he open the gate. Then, Trevor saw an attacker pull a cordless angle grinder out of a backpack and start cutting open the steel gate. As this was happening, a group of others started attacking his truck.
“I heard smashes on the back tailgate and when I looked in my mirror I could see one of them was holding an axe … it was terrifying,” he said.
Concerned for the workers at the drill pad, Trevor radioed to other security personnel posted at the construction site at the end of the Marten. He learned they were also under attack by another axe-wielding group.
“This was not a peaceful interaction. This was violence.”
With attackers surrounding his truck, smashing it with axes, Trevor tried to slowly drive, and the group initially chased him for about 20 metres before giving up.
Farther down the Morice, however, the road was blocked and he drove back toward the Marten thinking he could take a second try at getting to the construction site.
As he approached the access point and gate, however, the attack resumed. He considered ramming the gate, but decided against it out of concern that the vehicle might become disabled and he would have no way out.
During these moments of terror, the back driver’s side window of his truck was smashed, an axe landing in the back seat behind him. A torch was also tossed into the box of his truck.
“So, I got out of there a second time. My only safe option was to get out of there.”
As Trevor fled, other security personnel radioed that they had accounted for all the workers on site and managed to get them safely into vehicles and flee. He waited a safe distance away, and escorted workers from the area to safety at a workforce accommodation site.