6 months after Mississauga explosion, 33 homes are still empty

Officials still haven't released the cause of an explosion on Hickory Drive in Mississauga on June 28. Two people died and hundreds of neighbours were evacuated.

Cause of blast that killed 2 still not released, city assisting displaced residents

Frank Mo looks down at the repairs on his town home from his rented sixth-floor condo. (Frank Mo)

Looking out the window of their rented Mississauga condo, Frank Mo and his partner, Irene Chow, can see the skeleton of their former home, severely damaged when the property behind them exploded June 28. 

It's been six months since the blast on Hickory Drive destroyed one house and damaged dozens of others, and 33 homes remain empty, according to Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie.

All the bricks on the front and back of Mo's town-home complex have been removed, as well as the drywall inside, the flooring, the windows, the doors and even the kitchen counters. The roof and shingles also need to be replaced.

This is what the town home looked like right after the explosion. Two people were killed in the blast, which is still being investigated by authorities. (Laurence Martin/Radio-Canada)

"Really, 90 per cent of the building will be completely redone," he said. "It will be down to the studs."

Two weeks after the explosion, Mo and Chow were permitted to enter the residence and grab some belongings.

These properties near the blast still need lengthy repairs before residents can move back in. (Laurence Martin/Radio-Canada)

They salvaged some smaller items, but their sofas, bedroom sets, televisions, barbecue and kitchen table were destroyed. Insurance will cover some of the costs, but not all of their belongings can be replaced.

Officials haven't released the cause of the explosion that rocked the neighbourhood near Dixie Road and Rathburn Road East that summer day.

This plume of smoke could be seen across the city after the explosion on Hickory Drive. (@quita_montes/Twitter)

The blast shook buildings, blew out windows and filled the sky with smoke.

Along with firefighters, Toronto's Heavy Urban Search and Rescue team helped go through homes considered unstable. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

The bodies of two people, later identified as Dianne Page and Robert Nadler, the owners of the home that exploded, were pulled from the rubble.

Dianne Page, 55, was identified as one of two people whose bodies were pulled from the wreckage. (Submitted by Paul Camilleri)

Neither the coroner nor police has released how the homeowners died or commented on whether they were alive at the time of the explosion.

CBC News confirmed Nadler had served time in prison in the 1980s after he was convicted of murder in his best friend's death. 

Police also recovered notes found near the blast. Residents who read them say the writer describes being in pain, asks God for help and, according to at least two residents, requests forgiveness for future actions.

The notes were handed over to police, and it's not known whether they came from the house that exploded.

The extent of damage made collecting evidence difficult, but that process wrapped up on July 3.

Investigators comb through the rubble left after the blast, which levelled one home and damaged dozens of others. (Bob Kopji)

Crombie said while officials continue to look into the cause, a "team of professionals from the City of Mississauga remains engaged with those families impacted."

Area Councillor Chris Fonseca has been hosting community meetings for families not yet back in their homes.

She got the city to agree to waive the storm water fee for affected residents and has asked the Municipal Property Assessment Corp. to list the homes as priorities for reassessment in the new year.

Residents in the area said the explosion made the ground shake, the windows move and doors open and close. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Still, some homeowners are facing both mortgage and rent payments, according to Fonseca, as some insurance coverage has run out.

Four homes were demolished, leaving their owners to go through a lengthy rebuilding process. 

"Those families are so strong, they're so resilient," Fonseca said. "They've had support, obviously, from their own families and friends, but also the community has really pulled together."

According to Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, 33 homes are still not occupied. (Zeljko Zidaric/Canadian Press)

Mo and Chow plan to move back into their home when it's fully repaired, which they've been told will likely be in September or October. Hopefully they can get in sooner, Mo says, because they'll also be stuck paying roughly $1,800 a month for rent once their insurance coverage runs out in the spring.

"We have no other choice," he said. "We have to bite the bullet."

Despite everything that's happened and the wait to get back home, Mo is still thankful to be safe.

"We're fine, we didn't get hurt, nothing happened to us," he said. "Property damage can be fixed, contents can be replaced, so we move on."

Aerial video of house explosion in Mississauga, Ont.

7 years ago
Duration 0:33
See the extent of devastating blast in suburban neighbourhood


Taylor Simmons

Digital associate producer

Taylor Simmons is a digital associate producer for CBC Calgary. She has a masters in journalism from Western University and has worked as a multiplatform reporter in newsrooms across Canada, including in St. John's and Toronto. You can reach her at