A serious house explosion west of Toronto killed a woman and injured about nine people living close by on Tuesday. Now residents displaced by this explosion await their return home as authorities investigate the reason for the blast.
Nataliya Stasik and her husband alongside her seven-year-old daughter were evacuated from the townhouse complex they reside in, near the site of the explosion in Mississauga and took refuge at a friend’s house.
According to her, there was some damage to the windows and doors of their home and was told by police to check the local community centre, which sheltered and provided food for evacuees.
Some residents visited the community centre on Wednesday morning demanding updates on the situation.
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie reportedly told a news conference on Wednesday afternoon about 20 to 25 people were living at the community centre and that two families, totaling six were in need of shelter as of Tuesday night.
“We want to assess their needs are and see whatever assistance that we can provide,” Crombie said.
The “outside perimeter” around the blast area was removed on Wednesday which meant that people would be permitted access into their homes. Peel Region police claimed that they were unaware of how many people were still out of their homes or when they will be allowed back in.
The home at the centre of the blast was destroyed in the explosion, while two houses on both sides partially caved in. Debris was evident in the streets and on rooftops on homes nearby, including tufts of foam insulation.
Based on statements made by authorities, a specialized canine search-and-rescue team was able to penetrate the house that blew up and discovered no sign of any remaining victims.
Mississauga Fire Chief Tim Beckett confirmed reporters on Wednesday that “The dogs go in to look for the scent of live victims. Both passes of the houses on either side of the blast zone showed us no hits.”
“So … we were comfortable that there was nobody in those buildings and in fact we now have people accountable on both sides of the blast zone.”
He added that the “long process” of discovering the cause of the explosion was in the hands of Ontario’s fire marshal’s office.
Also in the fire marshal’s office, Jeff Minten relayed that the presence of gas possibly playing a role in the blast was being considered.
“We’re looking to see what kind of fuels are in there. Gases are predominately going to be our focus,” he said. “Right now, we don’t know what caused it.”
Police Chief Jennifer Evans also said that investigators will be delving into notes found in the area of the blast site that could be connected to the explosion.
“It’s too early to speculate right now,” she said of the notes. “There’s a lot of information coming in, but I’m encouraging people if they find anything suspicious in nature or if they recall seeing anything yesterday, to call us. We’re investigating all avenues right now.”
She stated that no comments would be made regarding the notes and begged anyone who finds something to hand it over to investigators.
Residing around the corner from the blast site, Rhonda Keyes was in her kitchen when the explosion occurred.
“The floors shook, my whole body shook.”
She ran out to check on her husband and claims to have found pink insulation pouring down as far as she could see.
The couple discovered “tonnes” of paperwork, CDs, bills and other household items all through the neighborhood.
They were allowed to stay in their homes after the explosion.