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Officials narrow focus to 2 sites for source of gas in Wheatley

Residents in Wheatley, Ont., may start to notice some heavier equipment and more movement around the evacuation zone as part of the continued search to figure out what caused the explosion just over three months ago.

'We're almost there then the gas came back again and everything had to be pushed back'

Heavier equipment will start working around the evacuation zone next week. (Mike Evans/CBC)

Residents in Wheatley, Ont., may start to notice some heavier equipment and more movement around the evacuation zone as part of the continued search to figure out what caused the explosion a little more than three months ago.

On Aug. 26, an explosion injured three people and destroyed two buildings, leaving many residents and business owners unable to access their properties.

There are three areas of concern and officials are focused on two: the blast site, which is at a former pub in the core of Wheatley, and the parking lot behind it.

Gas readings from those sites are consistent with what would be found in a natural reoccurring gas, officials confirmed Friday.

And there is an abandoned gas well that's in the area.

'That's life'

The investigation is now focusing on if there's a pathway between those two sites where the gas could travel.

Or if there's potential for another source for this gas that may have led to the explosion that occurred in August.

It's all happening as people are finally being let back in to view their properties.

Douglas Walker, of Walker-Tetra Mechanical Wheatley, says he's been told his shop is in pretty good shape. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

Douglas Walker, of Walker-Tetra Mechanical, has been able to go back and see his shop. 

He was told Thursday it is in pretty good condition, but he's accepted that a quick return is unlikely.

"I was able to get in a couple of times, but trying to move a shop in an hour is impossible and I know they're working on it every day," he said.

"We're almost there, then the gas came back again and everything had to be pushed back. That's life."

Officials with the municipality of Chatham-Kent are letting people know that there will be more action at the scene on Monday.

Hydro poles will start to be removed, and that's in anticipation of the demolition of a couple of buildings that were destroyed and have been deemed unsafe to leave standing. 

With files from Chris Ensing

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