Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Inside the Mississauga explosion blast site at 4201 Hickory Dr. near Dixie and Rathburn

Eight days after a home explosion rocked a quiet Mississauga neighbourhood, all residences have been released to their homeowners.

But residents who live in at least 69 homes — 37 houses and 32 units in an apartment building across from the blast — still can’t move back in.

Around 700 homes were originally evacuated in the wake of the June 28 blast.

Mississauga Fire Chief Tim Beckett said the return of residents to the remaining 69 addresses depends on what work needs to be done on the homes.

“There’s a number of work orders that need to happen,” he said Wednesday. “It can be as simple as the windows in the window frames need to be taken care of, to the point where they have engineers and structural assessments done.”

Beckett joined Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie and local councillor Chris Fonseca on a media tour of Hickory Dr., in the Dixie-Rathburn Rds. neighbourhood.

It was Crombie’s first time surveying the scene since the blast claimed the lives of two people and obliterated one home. Nine people suffered minor injuries.

“I think we were also very fortunate that the blast happened at 4:20 p.m.,” Crombie said. “In another hour, more residents would have been home from their workplaces and we could have sustained more (injuries).”

Meanwhile, authorities still can’t say what caused the explosion. That investigation is being led by Peel Regional Police and the Ontario fire marshal’s office.

Peel police confirmed they had no update for the media on Wednesday.

Plywood covered windows and doors of some homes on Hickory Dr.

The two homes on either side of what the fire chief called “ground zero” were severely damaged.

“Structural engineers will come in and start to assess if anything can be saved, but by looking at the damage, we know there’s a lot of work that needs to be done on this,” said Beckett.

A neighbouring townhouse complex was also affected — one brick wall directly behind the blast site was taken out by an air conditioning unit.

“We saw a bath tub on a roof,” Beckett said. “We were picking papers up from quite a distance.”

Debris still littered the roofs of some homes around the blast site, where the bodies of Robert Nadler and Diane Page were uncovered last week.

Back in the 1980s, Nadler pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of a friend.

The city of Mississauga said any residents looking for information can call 311, or visit a mobile community information centre at the corner of Rathburn Rd. and Hickory Dr.
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