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No relief in sight for residents of 33 homes damaged in Mississauga explosion

PAM SEATLE | posted Wednesday, Dec 28th, 2016

mississauga explosion

Wednesday will mark six months since the devastating house explosion on Hickory Drive in Mississauga, and residents are still reeling from the sights and sounds of that day.

“We had coffee on our patio and [then heard] this unbelievable explosion,” said Klaus Richtmann, whose home is near the scene of the blast.

Zvonko Krosel’s home was two doors down from the epicentre of the explosion at 4201 Hickory Drive. He says it’s a small miracle that he and his wife were not injured.

“Just a huge boom. You only see that in the movies,” he said. “We could have been crippled or killed. Because of the stuff that was flying across.”

Instead of being at home for the holidays, Krosel and his wife spent Christmas with their daughter. Their home, flattened during the June 28th incident, will need to undergo extensive renovation before it becomes inhabitable again. That will likely take months.

Krosel is just one of dozens whose holidays were impacted by the blast. Thirty-three homes on Hickory Drive remain unoccupied as police continue with their investigation.

 

In a statement to CityNews Tuesday, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie could not provide much detail on the status of the investigation. She wrote, “The Fire Marshall and Peel Regional Police would need to comment on the details of the investigation. The team of professionals from the City of Mississauga remains engaged with those families impacted.”

Due to the statutory holiday Tuesday, Mississauga Fire and Peel Police were unable to comment on the status of the investigation. But Mayor Crombie did thank them for their efforts in her statement, writing, “I want to acknowledge the committed first responders, and our local charitable groups and faith communities, who continue to work throughout this Christmas and holiday season to help those impacted families in need of care and support.”

Many area residents, like Mike Glavan, say they’re concerned with the slow pace of the rebuilding efforts.

“They haven’t done anything so far,” he says. “I don’t know why.”

Pete Karageorgos of the Insurance Bureau of Canada says unfortunately, some of the delays experienced is due to the approvals that are required.

“In some cases there, construction may not appear to be happening [but] there’s approvals that need to be done with the city in terms of architectural and engineering drawings,” he says.

Ward three councillor Chris Fonseca tells CityNews efforts are underway to expedite the rebuilding process.

“There’s different issues depending on whether they live in the condo or single family homes, or whether their homes were completely demolished or whether there are structural issues,” she said. “My goal has been to encourage [residents] to communicate if they are having an issue and work with our building department.”

“I’ve been getting updates from our building department about who has been issued permits and if they haven’t why they haven’t,” Fonseca adds.

“We will continue to work with them to say ‘why is there this hold up and how can we move it faster to support them any way we can?’”

The explosion blasted through the residential neighbourhood near Rathburn and Dixie Roads. Ultimately two bodies were found in the rubble while 100 residents were displaced from their homes. Fifty-eight residences had their utilities cut off.

The property at the center of the explosion was put up for sale by the end of the summer. Though it was listed at $675,000, realtors tell CityNews it ultimately sold for $550,000.

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