September 28, 2021 by The Canadian Press
WHEATLEY, Ont. – A town in southwestern Ontario rocked by a massive explosion last month will be receiving up to $2 million from the provincial government to help with recovery efforts.
The province says the funds will help businesses affected by the blast in Wheatley, Ont., resume operations.
It also says money will be used to help cover the cost of “goods and services” for affected families.
The Aug. 26 explosion, suspected to be caused by a recurring gas leak, levelled a building in downtown Wheatley and left 20 people requiring medical attention.
Word of the provincial funding comes days after Premier Doug Ford and Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford visited the town to assess the situation and express support.
Ford issued a statement praising the community for its resilience in the face of the blast.
“The people of Wheatley have shown tremendous strength in the aftermath of the devastating gas leak explosion last month,” the statement reads. “They have pulled together and shown incredible resolve as the community works to rebuild what was lost. As this funding shows, we stand ready and willing to help the town of Wheatley and they can continue to count on our government’s support.”
Exact funding allocation details are still being determined, the province said.
The explosion at a privately owned building was close to a location where hydrogen sulphide gas was first discovered in June, prompting an evacuation order and the declaration of a state of emergency.
In July, local officials declared a second state of emergency after confirming hydrogen sulphide was once again present in the building that was levelled in the August explosion.
Feature image: Chatham-Kent fire is still on the scene of a natural gas explosion in Wheatley, Ont., Friday, Aug. 27, 2021. The explosion occurred on Thursday afternoon, destroying 2 buildings and injuring 20 people. Fire officials said today that there is a risk of another explosion since the source of the natural gas is believed to be coming from an abandoned underground well. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke