Demolition of buildings near Wheatley blast site set to wrap this week

Chatham-Kent officials say the demolition work of buildings near the site of an August explosion in Wheatley is near completion.

Officials say next steps are excavating the site

Chatham-Kent officials say demolition of buildings near the Wheatley blast site is near completion. (Municipality of Chatham-Kent)

Chatham-Kent officials say the demolition work of buildings near the site of an August explosion in Wheatley is near completion. 

Thomas Kelly, general manager of Infrastructure and Engineering Services for the municipality, said the work is on target and set to wrap up this week. 

Once this demolition is completed, excavation and analysis of the site will begin. 

"The analysis is a key factor in determining how the gas is reaching the surface and gives us important information we can use for remediation," Kelly said in a media release Tuesday. 

Once demolition is completed, excavation of the site will begin. (Municipality of Chatham-Kent)

While crews are working quickly, said Kelly, the excavation portion of the work comes with an "elevated risk."

Over the last few weeks, some residents and business owners have been permitted to access their properties. That access will be on hold as this demolition and excavation takes place. 

"We will resume allowing residents to return as soon it is safe to do so, but the current work Is critical to long term resolution of the problem," said Kelly.

"If there are any gaps in the work plan, temporary access will be restarted."

On Nov. 21, gas had once again been detected at the site of the August explosion. It happened just days after some residents were first allowed to enter their homes and businesses. 

It was the fourth time that gas had been detected at the site, and the second detection of gas since the explosion.

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