By Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
Toronto: Dozens of families were still unable to go home Monday as investigators worked to determine what caused an explosion west of Toronto that killed two people and injured nine others last week.
Firefighters said 69 families, including 32 living in a low-rise apartment building, remained displaced nearly a week after the blast that rocked a neighbourhood in Mississauga, Ont., though some may be allowed a short visit to recover personal items.
Tuesday’s explosion rained debris over the area and forced hundreds from their homes. Many have since been able to return but the area closest to the blast site continues to be off-limits to residents.
“The damage that we have encountered as part of this explosion has been extensive,” Fire Chief Tim Beckett said in a news conference Monday. “We have a number of addresses, 69 in total, that are still impacted by the explosion.”
“We will be working to get them back to their homes. Some of them will be able to enter their home on a 15-minute supervised visit to grab personal needs, the homes will then be turned over to their insurance companies so that they can be boarded up and secured,” he said.
Engineers and other experts will then take over until the homes are deemed safe, he said, adding that the two houses on either side of the explosion site would “likely be coming down.”
Police said they are working to determine what triggered the blast and they are looking into the possibility that it was a criminal incident.
Peel Regional Police Sgt. Josh Colley could not say how long it would take to establish the cause.
He said some of the evidence, including letters found strewn around the property, have been sent for analysis to find out whether they are linked to the home that exploded.
Last week police identified two bodies found in the wreckage as Robert Nadler and Dianne Page, both 55 years old.
Page was found the day of the explosion. Police discovered Nadler’s remains on Thursday.
Relatives confirmed to the Toronto Star that Nadler was convicted in a murder case in 1982 and released to a halfway house a decade later.