Hunt for explosion’s cause still underway

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Efforts continue to find the source of the Aug. 26 explosion in Wheatley, and municipal sources say they’re optimistic they will learn more shortly.

Chatham-Kent Chief Administrative Officer Don Shropshire said that “significant movement” has been made in preparing to find the source of the explosion.

“Municipal and provincial officials met in Wheatley Monday and have formed a technical advisory group that will set parameters for the investigation of the explosion and finding the source of the hydrogen sulphide leak which is the suspected cause,” he said in a media release. “Establishing how the effort will proceed is a necessary step to getting where we want to be.’

Shropshire added there is still no timetable for residents to return to the two-block evacuation area around the site of the blast at 15 Erie St. N.

“There are structural issues regarding a number of buildings, contaminated debris and the leak itself,” he said. “It will be some time before we can contemplate allowing people into the area.”

Members of the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office are inspecting the site.

A limited number of workers under the control of emergency officials will be entering a section of the downtown area away from the immediate blast zone to board up blown-out windows.

Entegrus has restored power to roughly half of the 90 customers whose electricity was turned off.

More than 100 households have sought aid at the reception area established at the Wheatley Arenas. Thirteen families are being housed and municipal officials are assisting local groups that are coordinating donations. The centre is accepting and distributing gift cards as well.

Residents who are looking to return to their properties in the non-evacuation zone should contact 519-350-2956 prior to returning to confirm their eligibility to return.

The Wheatley community has set up a food hub and donation reception centre at the Talbot Trail golf course in Wheatley.

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