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September 24, 2008
City cleanup is complete at propane explosion site
  
The City of Toronto has finished its cleanup of the propane explosion site on Murray Road and the surrounding neighbourhood to help this Downsview neighbourhood return to normal. The Ontario Fire Marshal (OFM) has now turned the site over to the property owner.

The City took a number of actions to address issues at the site and surrounding area after the August 10 explosion.

After the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) advised the City that the orders it had issued to the propane company and property owner were not being followed in a timely way, the City took over and completed the work that was necessary to protect the public and help the neighbourhood resume a sense of normalcy. The City contracted the services of licensed professional cleanup companies which used approximately 120 workers to clean the area including streets, sidewalks, and almost 580 properties including yards and shrubs, in addition to the explosion site.

The cleanup of the explosion site included action to address not only the propane cylinders but other tanks containing harmless, pressurized gasses including oxygen, helium and carbon dioxide. The tanks did not pose any risk of fire and were drained as a safety precaution to eliminate the possibility that their lids could become dislodged.

Environmental consultants hired by the City tested outdoor air for asbestos in many locations throughout the community, and also took indoor air samples in 49 homes and some city facilities. All indoor and outdoor test results met the provincial standards for asbestos.

Throughout the emergency and area cleanup the City worked with its safety partners including the OFM and Ontario Government (MOE and Ministry of Labour) to ensure the safest and swiftest action to help the Torontonians in this neighbourhood recover from this emergency as quickly as possible.

The City intends to work with the Ontario Government to recover its costs for the area and site cleanup from Sunrise Propane and the property owner.

For the future, the Mayor has requested that the review of zoning bylaws that is currently underway be fast-tracked and that the City examine all land uses and regulations that may involve propane use and storage.

The body that regulates the propane industry, the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) has suspended operations of Sunrise Propane at three sites: 54 Murray Rd. (the site of the explosion), 1201 Dundas St. W., Toronto and 3171 Derry Rd. E., Mississauga.

To further protect the public the MOE issued a third order on September 16 to Sunrise Propane and the property owner, as the City’s site cleanup neared completion. The property owner of 54 Murray Rd. has given notice to Sunrise Propane that it is terminating its lease. The property owner must now comply with conditions under the MOE order which includes providing 24-hour security, dust control, and outdoor air monitoring. The property owner must also submit a Site Management Plan to MOE. The MOE will monitor the work of the property owner to ensure they are taking the required action.

MOE orders, air testing results and public bulletins are available at http://www.toronto.ca

Media contact: Kevin Sack, Director, Strategic Communications, (cell) 416-919-6500, ksack@toronto.ca


 

 

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