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August 10, 2008
Explosion and fire on Murray Road, residents within 1.6 kms to evacuate
  
At 3:50 a.m. this morning, an explosion and fire occurred at a propane facility located on Murray Road in Toronto. Murray Road runs north off of Wilson Avenue. The cause of the explosion is under investigation. The City of Toronto has activated its Emergency Operation Centre to help co-ordinate the City’s emergency response.

A small number of minor injuries have been reported at this time. A search effort continues to locate one individual who is still unaccounted for. Hospitals have been notified and are on stand by.

An evacuation zone has been established around the area where the explosion occurred. It is estimated that more than 10,000 people may be affected. All residents and business owners within 1.6 kilometres are being asked to leave the area. A detailed map is attached that outlines the boundaries of the evacuation.

The boundaries are 401 to the south, Sheppard Avenue West to the north, Dufferin Street to the east and Keele Street to the west.

While there is smoke in the air, Toronto Fire Services has tested the air and there are no concerns with air quality at this time. The evacuation is required to ensure public safety in the event of further explosions. Crews continue to fight spot fires and work to cool the propane rail tankers to keep the pressure from building up within them.

Experts continue to assess the fire and are working with City officials to determine the best course of action and will confirm how long the evacuation will be necessary.

Water pressure has been increased to support the firefighting efforts at the site and there is no impact to Toronto’s city-wide water supply.

Residents who are being evacuated are asked to take medications, pets and any other essential belongings with them. TTC is on-site with shuttle buses and shelter buses to assist with the evacuation efforts. TTC buses are located at Yukon Drive in Downsview Park and are circulating the area.

The public is being advised to stay clear of the evacuation area and wait to hear from family and friends. Family members and friends who know people living within the evacuation area are asked not to go to the site or to drive into the evacuation area. The City has set up an evacuation centre at York University’s Tait MacKenzie Building, which is located at 1 Thompson Road for residents who have no place to go. Family and friends can call 416-736-5185 to get information about individuals who may be at the centre. Please do not attempt to go the temporary evacuation site to find family and friends please call first.

The Canadian Red Cross and Salvation Army are working with the City’s Shelter, Support and Housing Administration Division at the evacuation centre to provide support to evacuees who need assistance.

Highway 401 between Highway 400 and the Don Valley Parkway has been closed, and a no-fly zone has been established over the site.

TTC confirms that Wilson, Downsview and Yorkdale subway stations have been reopened.

Enbridge Gas has turned gas off in the area from Dufferin to Murray and Honover to Wilson until further notice. Toronto Hydro has also turned off power within the evacuation area.

Ancaster Community Centre and Downsview Secondary School, both located within the evacuation area, will not be operating their weekday Summer Daycamp programs until the evacuation order is lifted. Staff will make every effort to contact parents and caregivers if cancellation is necessary.

There is a railway line near the site and CN has been contacted. The Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Health have also been advised.

For updates as more information becomes available, visit the City’s website at http://www.toronto.ca.

Media contact:
Kevin Sack, Director, Strategic Communications, 416-919-6500 (cell)


 

 

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