Wheatley residents return home after second gas evacuation in two months

·2 min read

Residents are finally filtering back into their homes and businesses after another gas leak on Wheatley’s main drag.

Just two months after a noxious substance cleared out the downtown, a similar situation unfolded last week when an odour was detected again. Like before, the area was evacuated as firefighters came in to secure the scene.

Now, thanks to detectors installed after the last incident the last remaining presence of gas has been narrowed down to 15 Erie Street North, just north of Talbot Road. Fire Chief Chris Case says the predominant gas is hydrogen sulfide which is toxic, flammable, explosive and corrosive.

Preliminary tests show the gas is thermogenic and originates from a gas well, though the exact location remains unknown. The municipality is waiting for the Ministry of Natural Resources, who is expected to take over the investigation, to confirm the results.

Acting CAO Cathy Hoffman says lessons learned from the June leak were a big help this time around.

“We were quickly able to make phone calls to those companies who are professionals and experts in identifying and testing the gas,” says Hoffman. Samples weren’t immediately collected in June.

“That has helped us expedite being able to get information back from those organizations to understand what the nature of this gas is, what might be pointing to the source of it and where we can go next,” says Hoffman.

It’s not confirmed both leaks are from the same source but both were detected in the same general area.

“For now the situation is stabilized and there’s no immediate risk from the gas coming out of the ground,” says Case. He says after firefighters help re-establish people in their homes they’ll depart the scene but are prepared to return if more gas is detected.

It’s unclear when 15 Erie Street North can be reoccupied or what the future of the building will be.

Alex Kurial, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Independent

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