Toronto

Search continues for victims in Woodstock fire

Police and fire officials in Woodstock, Ont., say they have not found any remains but hold out little hope of finding the two elderly residents missing after Sunday's explosion and fire at an apartment building.
Firefighters and investigators examine the scene of a three-storey apartment building fire in Woodstock, Ont., Monday. (Dave Chidley/Associated Press)

Woodstock residents gathered at the scene of Sunday's apartment fire on Tuesday afternoon, hoping for news of the two people still unaccounted for.

Syl Battistone said his friend Margaret Gillette, 73, is one of the two people still missing.

"She was just like a sister to me," said Battistone. "I think everybody [is waiting] for some news they don't want to hear." 

Gillette's apartment was right in the part of the building rocked by the explosion and fire, said Battistone.

Police confirmed the other missing person is Bill Watmough, 79, but so far no remains have been found in the rubble.

"We haven't recovered anything," said Steve McEwen of the Woodstock police force. "As you can see there are several feet of debris and they're still going through it piece by piece."

The Ontario Fire Marshal is still investigating the cause of the explosion, but natural gas is a key focus

"When we get an opportunity to get right into the site and excavate that area we will of course be looking at the natural gas," said Larry Cocco of the fire marshal's office.

About 100 residents have been displaced by the explosion and fire. 

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