Some Caledon residents return home, others stuck in limbo after massive explosion
Published Tuesday, February 5, 2019 2:15PM EST Last Updated Tuesday, February 5, 2019 7:46PM EST
A number of Caledon residents displaced by Sunday’s massive explosion have returned to their homes, but for others, the wait will be much longer.
The sun had not yet risen that morning when a sudden blast rocked Maple Grove Road.
Debris rained down across the quiet street, shattering windows and damaging the roofs of neighbouring homes.
First responders rushed to the scene to find one house reduced to tiny fragments.
On the property, they located a deceased man, later identified as 54-year-old Joseph Westcott.
About 35 residents were forced out of their homes while the Ontario Fire Marshal (OFM), who promptly took carriage of the situation, assessed the scope of the damage.
By Monday night, seven of the residences impacted were deemed safe and those homeowners were allowed to return.
Four other homes have been released to the Town of Caledon. Those homes, according to OFM investigator Andrea Gaynor, will need to be examined both by structural engineers and insurance companies before the homeowners can return.
The remaining four homes are considered among the most severely damaged.
Those properties remain part of the OFM’s investigation and will likely not be released for “some time.”
It’s not known how long those residents will be out of their homes.
In the meantime, the Town of Caledon and Region of Peel are providing services to those families affected. Some homeowners were granted permission to return to their property to retrieve items, including their vehicles.
“This includes preventative measures against damage from flooding and freezing conditions,” a release from the town reads.
Investigators returned to the neighbourhood Tuesday morning to continue combing through the wreckage.
Gaynor said several items have been located that may be connected to the fuel delivery system that caused the explosion, but a cause has still not been determined.
“We’re continuing with our de-layering process. We have found some components that some of our engineers have gone off site to do some further testing on, to bring us back some results today, so that’s positive,” she said.
“We still have not got into the basement of the home. We’re still doing our grid pattern on the land portion of the home. We’re hoping to get that later today.”
A drone was deployed again this afternoon to survey the debris field, which has shrunk considerably as crews sift through the splintered pieces of the home.
Gaynor expects the OFM’s portion of the investigation to last another few days.
“We definitely won’t finish today,” she said. “We’ll work until its dark and we’ll be back again first thing tomorrow.”