Couple return to Old East Village to find they've lost everything
Signs of normal life are slowly returning to Woodman Avenue in London’s Old East Village.
But the gaping hole and the scene of destruction left behind after the Wednesday night explosion continues to be a stark reminder that healing will take time.
Most of the affected residents have now been allowed back into their homes after their hasty retreat to safety, but some have no home to return to.
Jessica Leeming Jaime and Mario Jaime Ramirez came back Friday to see what was left of the home they shared with their two young children. And it’s not much. The family lost everything.
Their home is right next door - on the north side - to the home at the centre of the disaster.
“It’s difficult to accept. The mind doesn’t accept it. It’s tragic but we’re very grateful that there was no loss of life,” says Leeming Jaime.
“We start from scratch our life. So we’re lucky to be alive and have the opportunity to start from scratch. So we are lucky and happy that we can do that,” says Ramirez.
An update from the city says that while the majority of displaced residents are back in their homes cleanup in the area continues.
Progess being made
In total, there are still eight homes on Woodman that remain closed off to residents, all closest to the blast area.
The home where the vehicle crashed has been demolished and a second was expected to come down Friday evening, while the fate of a third remains undetermined, but may still be demolished, according to the city.
Early estimates from the London Fire Department put the damage at between $10 and $15 million.
More than 100 homes had to be evacuated following the explosion late Wednesday night.
Hydro and water has been restored to all the homes except the eight still affected, and gas service was expected to return by Friday morning.
For those residents that are not able to return to their homes, the City London continues to provide accommodation and support if required.
Many businesses in the area are taking donations for the residents and families affected by the explosion as some have lost everything.
- With files from CTV London's Justin Zadorsky