Chatham-Kent municipal employees and members of the Emergency Services went door to door in portions of Wheatley during the weekend to provide information on emergency preparedness and answer questions concerning the August 26th explosion in the town’s downtown core.
Officials spoke with nearly 300 individuals and left notifications for more than 250 others within a 1 kilometer diameter of the explosion at 15 Erie Street North.
An important part of the message was to inform residents to have a family emergency plan and emergency kit prepared.
Fire Chief Chris Case said work on finding and managing the source of the gas emission is ongoing.
A number of residents on the weekend reported noticing a smell. In each case, emergency personnel responded with detection equipment but no gas was detected.
Possible causes of the smells include agriculture related activities, smell produced by lake inversion now underway or an odour from offshore gas wells.
Municipal officials are concerned regarding unfounded rumours being circulated on social media regarding the situation. They say to always contact the municipality if they have any questions or concerns and not spread gossip on social media channels.
CAO Don Shropshire says that if there is something to report they will provide the information to legitimate media outlets and use official municipal social media channels including the subscription list.
Several hundred residents have joined the subscription list that provides updated information regarding such things as relocated financial, medical and postal services as well as community-based relief efforts.
Wheatley residents can join the list by filling in a form on the municipality’s website or by calling 3-1-1 or emailing email@example.com with contact information (name, number, address and email address).
A technical advisory group including municipal emergency, building, engineering and utilities along with the Ontario Fire Marshall’s Office and the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry is examining how best to determine the source of the gas leak.
Private sector officials are providing technical advise to the TAG group as well.