Mississauga residents wondering why progress so slow at blast site
Area where couple committed suicide by blowing up home still like a ‘ghost town.’
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A few dozen Mississauga residents gathered Thursday in search of answers in the house explosion that, quite literally, shook their community and left the area like a “ghost town” even though the blast was almost seven months ago.
Jozo Kovacevic, who was at the meeting at Burnhamthorpe Community Centre, said his house on Hickory Dr. was slightly damaged but he had repaired it himself instead of waiting for insurance. He went to the meeting to see if anything could be done to speed up trying to get his street back to normal.
“It’s still like a ghost town, still under construction, still this and that,” he said. “. . . Everybody’s wondering, ‘Why so long?’ ”
Owned by Robert Nadler and his spouse Diane Page, the house on 4201 Hickory Dr. suddenly exploded on June 28, raining chunks of concrete, wood, paper and pink insulation on the surrounding neighbourhood.
Both Nadler and Page were killed in the explosion. In an update Dec. 30, investigators said the explosion was the result of an intentional disconnecting of a natural gas line in the home’s basement, and that their deaths were a double suicide.
The blast and falling debris damaged the structural integrity of 69 surrounding homes. Since then, four have been demolished; as of mid-December, 33 were still uninhabitable.
Along with several investigators from Peel police, Mississauga Fire Chief Tim Beckett, Ontario Fire Marshal investigator Kevin Pahor and Councillor Chris Fonseca were on hand to explain their respective agencies’ roles in the aftermath of the blast and to answer questions.
Michele Manzo said she found the session helpful in understanding how the investigation unfolded. Manzo’s townhouse, on Rathburn Rd. E., was badly damaged and she hasn’t been able to return home yet.
Her biggest frustration now, she said, is dealing with the condo corporation that manages the townhouses and the uncertainy of when repairs will finally be done.
“We just want to know, definitively, when we’ll be able to go home,” she said.
Another area resident, Andrea McCardle, lives in the condo building at 1316 Rathburn Rd. E. Her windows were blown out and the frames buckled in the explosion; they’re still boarded up with plywood.
“I just want to keep up-to-date with what’s going on, because I’m a frustrated individual, nothing’s happening at my building,” she said, explaining that insurance assessments have been dragging out for months now.
She added that although she thought it took too long for the cause of the explosion to be released, she’s happy with the response from the city and emergency services and how they’ve communicated with affected residents.
“I think it’s actually been very good.”