No timeline for residents' return to Wheatley blast site, first steps taken in probe

WHEATLEY, Ont. — Officials in a southwestern Ontario community say there's still no timeline for when residents can return to an area where a suspected gas leak caused an explosion last week, but the first steps in investigating the blast have been taken.

Twenty people required medical attention and a building was levelled after the explosion that took place in Wheatley, Ont., last Thursday.

Chatham-Kent's chief administrative officer says there's currently no timeline for when residents can return to a two-block area around the site of the explosion.

Don Shropshire says there are structural issues with several buildings, debris, and the leak itself continues.

The municipality says it is helping to house 13 families, while power has been restored to about half of the 90 people whose electricity was turned off.

Shropshire says municipal and provincial officials have formed a technical advisory group that will set parameters for investigating the blast and finding the source of the hydrogen sulfide leak.

Chatham-Kent officials also say the fire marshal's office is inspecting the blast site.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 31, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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