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August 12, 2008
City continues clean up and safe return of residents to their homes
Since the explosion and fire at a propane facility on Murray Road almost 60 hours ago, City of Toronto emergency responders have worked with the Office of the Fire Marshal to get residents back home as quickly and safely as possible. All residents in the area have now been able to return to their homes, except for approximately two city blocks that are located closest to the propane facility.

Areas where residents are being allowed back in have been examined and cleared of any asbestos and declared safe to re-enter.

Undisturbed asbestos laying on the ground at the explosion site is not a danger to the residents. While the investigation and clean up of the site is taking place, Toronto Fire will keep the site wet and air quality monitoring will continue to be done to ensure that no danger exists.

"Public safety is our paramount concern in this situation," said Mayor David Miller. "While the City is currently reviewing all zoning bylaws, we are also working very closely with the Province to ensure residents receive the best possible protection in their neighbourhoods."

Zoning bylaws dating back to 1952 allowed for both the residential area and the existence of the industrial site. When a request is made to the City regarding permitted uses of land, Toronto Building, based on information provided by the requester, verifies whether the use is permitted. In this case, the use of a propane storage facility was permitted, subject to the operation complying with all applicable provisions of the zoning bylaw. Propane facilities such as this one are granted permits under Provincial fuel legislation and regulations, and past attempts to pass municipal zoning bylaws to regulate propane operations have faced legal challenge and not been upheld.

While efforts continue to return residents to their homes, the York University evacuation centre remains open to provide continued support to affected residents. Staff from the City’s Shelter, Support and Housing Administration have also located at the Ancaster Public School police staging area (44 Ancaster Blvd.) to assist residents in finding interim housing, should they need it.

The site is currently under the authority of the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal, which is investigating the cause of the explosion and fire.

For updates as more information becomes available, visit the City’s website at

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



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