Displaced Wheatley residents to regain access to properties this week

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On Aug. 26, an explosion destroyed two buildings and displaced more than 100 people. (Jennifer La Grassa/CBC - image credit)
On Aug. 26, an explosion destroyed two buildings and displaced more than 100 people. (Jennifer La Grassa/CBC - image credit)

Residents of Wheatley, who were affected by an explosion on Aug. 26, will begin to access their properties this week.

Chatham-Kent officials said Tuesday they are working with residents, business owners and their insurers to coordinate plans to access properties in the evacuation zone.

"Over 40 calls have been completed to set up appointments for access to properties. Six entries are planned for tomorrow with another six planned for Thursday," the municipality said in a news release.

General manager of Infrastructure and Engineering Services Thomas Kelly said the first visit includes staff from Chatham-Kent Fire and Emergency Services and Building Development Services, who will enter the property in safety gear to monitor and determine if the property is safe to enter.

If the property is deemed safe, the owners will be able to enter, Kelly said.

Work continues in the area where the explosion occurred, the municipality said, adding that structural engineers are assessing the damage to adjacent buildings.

According to the municipality, work continues on identifying the pathway mapping for the methane and hydrogen sulphide gas. It said three stationary gas monitors are being installed in the area to enhance public safety and Entegrus staff will be on site to supply electricity to these units.

Meanwhile, Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry is set to visit Chatham-Kent on Wednesday and provide an update on Wheatley.

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