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Update: Explosion in Old East Village

Media Release: Residents wake up to clean streets and sidewalks

Issued August 17 at 10 a.m.  

By early Saturday morning, debris from the explosion in Old East Village had been cleared from roads and sidewalks in the affected area, and emergency services have left the site.

In addition to the home at 450 Woodman that was destroyed in the initial explosion, 448 Woodman was demolished on Friday evening and 452 Woodman was demolished this morning. The homes at 458, 456, 454, 446 and 444 Woodman remain unsafe for re-entry.

With the exception of five homes, services have been restored to all homes that were cleared to re-entry. Enbridge gas is coordinating the return of service directly with the remaining homes. 

London Police Service will continue to patrol the area and security will remain on site as clean up continues.

The member of the London Fire Department who was injured in the initial explosion continues to be in hospital in serious but stable condition.

Media Release: Support and Clean Up and Efforts Continue

Issued August 16 at 4:34 p.m.  

Efforts to support the residents and clean up debris left in the aftermath of the explosion that rocked a neighbourhood in London’s Old East Village continued throughout Friday.

Earlier today, representatives from multiple City services, the Middlesex-London Health Unit, London Fire Department, London Police Service and insurers met with residents in the impacted neighbourhood to provide information and answer their questions. 

The Ontario Fire Marshal’s office has now released the scene back to the City.

Roads in the area continue to be cleaned up of debris, with a continued focus on removing debris from sidewalks in the area. The City has added security to the neighbourhood to protect the homes that have been compromised. Security was already on site this afternoon and will be in place overnight.

Early estimates by the London Fire Department peg the total amount of the damage to be between $10 and $15 million. As clean-up work continues and damages can be more fully assessed, this estimate will be refined.                  

Of the more than 100 homes that were evacuated, 8 homes on Woodman Street remain unsafe. Of these, one home was destroyed as a result of the explosion. One home will be demolished early this evening and the status of the third home remains undetermined at this time however, there is a potential that it will also be demolished. Two homes on Charlotte have now been cleared for re-entry. The status of the homes may continue to change.

Media Release: Old East Village Explosion Update

Issued August 16 at 10:11 a.m. 

Less than thirty-six hours after an explosion devastated a neighbourhood in London’s Old East Village, a number of residents are waking up in their own homes this morning. Of the more than 100 homes that were evacuated, all but 10 have been cleared for re-entry and a majority of residents returned home last night. It also appears that most pets have been reunited with their owners.

“We have made significant progress since Wednesday’s explosion. The vast majority of residents are now safely back inside their homes and clean-up work in the surrounding areas continues. We recognize, however, this is just the first step in what will be a long period of recovery,” said Mayor Ed Holder.  “The people of Old East Village have displayed tremendous resolve and compassion. This has been an extremely stressful and uncertain time for many, but Londoners have risen to the occasion to support their neighbours. I could not be more proud of that response. This community spirit must be sustained in the days and weeks ahead.”

The homes that remain unsafe include two homes on Charlotte Street and eight homes on Woodman Street. As well, because of the extent of the damage, two homes have now been demolished. 

Residents in the neighbourhood have been provided support through a number of agencies, included an increased presence from London Police Services who helped ensure access was restricted to residents only in the areas most affected, and London Health Sciences Centre who provided access to crisis support for impacted residents. Representatives from the City, London Fire Department, London Middlesex Health Unit, Canadian Mental Health Association, London Hydro and Enbridge worked together on the impacted streets, visiting residents in door to door check-ins to provide information and ensure everyone remains safe.   

Work continues to clear debris in the neighbourhood and there are some limited street closures that include portions of Woodman Street and Queen Street where the impact of the blast was strongest. At this time, hydro has been returned to all homes, with the exception of the 10 houses that have not been cleared. Gas services on Woodman Street are also expected to be fully restored, with the exception of those same 10 homes. 

The focus for efforts throughout today will be on safety, clean up and continued restoration of services.

Media Release: Many Old East Village residents will be allowed to return home tonight

Issued August 15 at 7:54 p.m.

Many Old East Village residents who were displaced by last night’s explosion will be allowed to return home this evening. Of the more than 100 homes that were evacuated, all but 12 have been cleared for residents to return. The remaining 12 homes are in the area that was most significantly impacted, including 10 homes on Woodman Street and 2 homes on Charlotte Street.

In the area, Quebec Street and Charlotte Street will be reopened. Woodman Street will be open to walk in traffic for residents only. As well, walk in traffic for residents only will be allowed on Queen Avenue between Quebec Street and Woodman Street.

Hydro and water has been restored to all homes, with the exception of the 12 homes that have not been cleared for residents to return. Homes on Woodman will be without gas until Friday morning.

For those residents that are not able to return to their homes, the City continues to provide accommodation and support if required.

At this time, residents outside of this area should continue to avoid the area to allow residents access to their homes.

Media Release: Update on Old East Village Explosion

Issued August 15 at 5 p.m.

Emergency responders, City officials and the Ontario Fire Marshall remain on scene of the explosion in Old East Village. Public safety remains to be our top priority at this time.

The City is working with municipal and provincial partners to assess the area impacted to ensure the area is safe. Until the assessment of the area is complete, we cannot give a timeline of when residents can return. Our partners are working 24/7 to get residents back into their homes, but this will take time.

We continue to have supports in place for residents who have been displaced. Impacted residents requiring accommodations or assistance can call 519-661-CITY (2489) ext 4548 or go to Boyle Community Centre – 530 Charlotte Avenue. Evacuated families who have pets can also bring them to the Boyle Community Centre. Animal control officers are patrolling the area looking for any lost cats or dogs, and any specific inquiries can be made directly to the Animal Control Office at 519-685-1330.

"I could not be more proud of our first responders and the residents of Old East Village. You have stood tall and serve as an inspiration to all Londoners," said Mayor Ed Holder. "You have demonstrated great courage, resilience and compassion in the face of extremely stressful circumstances. The people of Old East Village represent the very best of London. In response, Londoners have wrapped their arms around you. This support is unequivocal and unwavering."

For general inquiries, the City has activated our public information phone line at 519-661-CITY (2489).

PSA: Update on Explosion in OEV – Public Information Phone Line Activated

Issued August 15 at 10:17 a.m.

In response to the explosion last night in Old East Village the City’s Emergency Operations Centre has activated our public information telephone line for general inquiries at 519-661-CITY(2489). Impacted residents requiring accommodations or assistance can call 519-661-CITY(2489) ext 4548 or go to Boyle Community Centre – 530 Charlotte Avenue.

Public safety is our top priority at this time. We ask the public to avoid the area as this is an active and ongoing incident.

Emergency crews remain on scene. It is too early to determine how long residents will be out of their homes and the length of time it will take to investigate the situation.

Media Release: Update on Explosion in Old East Village

Issued August 15 at 8:31 a.m.

On Wednesday, August 14 at approximately 10:37 p.m. London Police Services were called to Woodman Avenue near Queens Avenue following reports that a vehicle had struck a house. In addition to the house, a gas line was also struck resulting in an explosion that destroyed one house and impacted several other homes in the area. Police arrived on scene and were quickly joined by members of the London Fire Department and EMS. Multiple people were treated or assessed at the scene. A total of seven people were transported to hospital including; one citizen, four firefighters, and two Police officers.

Approximately 100 homes on Quebec Street, Woodman Avenue, and Charlotte Street between Lorne Avenue and Dundas Street have been evacuated, and the area remains cordoned off for investigation. A reception centre for displaced residents in need was set-up overnight at Carling Heights Optimist Community Centre. Approximately 30 people were at the reception centre during the evening. Accommodations have since been secured for all those residents, and the reception centre is no longer being utilized. 

Please be aware that there are a number of road closures as a result of the explosion in Old East Village.

Updated road closures as of 10:30 a.m.:

  • Lorne Ave between Ontario and Quebec closed east bound only
  • Dufferin between Ontario and Quebec closed
  • Queens between Ontario and Quebec closed
  • Quebec between Lorne and Dundas closed
  • Charlotte between Lorne and Dundas closed
  • Lorne between Charlotte and Quebec closed both ways
  • Woodman between Lorne and Dundas closed
  • Queens between Quebec and Woodman closed

This is an active incident. We ask that the public avoid the area at this time. Updates will be provided as the situation progresses.