Soho neighbourhood evacuated after 'explosive range of natural gas' found in home
LONDON, ONT. -- It was a scary reminder of the power of natural gas on the one-year anniversary of the Woodman Avenue explosion, after a truck struck a gas meter in the early morning hours of Friday on Grey Street.
“We literally just moved in the night before, and they carried my son out and we were carried to the corner,” says Jennifer Pratt, who along with her five-year-old son, were moving into their new home on Grey Street into the late hours Thursday night.
Their first day in their new home started with banging on the doors around 6 a.m., and firefighters telling them the home had to be to evacuated immediately.
“They didn’t really tell us why, so, I assumed the worst.”
London fire, police and EMS arrived on scene quickly after a pickup truck struck an exposed gas meter in a laneway along the side of the home.
London Fire District Chief Steven Baker says upon entering the home, the danger of an explosion was high.
“They entered the house and their gas meters, explosive meters went off showing an explosive range of natural gas was in the house.”
That’s when evacuation protocols were put into place and the section of Grey Street between Colbourne and Waterloo streets, as well as some of the homes on Hill Street behind the residence, were evacuated while Enbridge came in to turn off the gas to the neighbourhood.
“It usually does not take that long to locate the valves, our crew are very well trained on locating the valves and digging them up,” explains Paul Ferrerra of Enbridge Gas.
By 9:30 a.m. the valves were shut off, and neighbours were allowed to return to their homes while Enbridge worked to repair the severed pipe.
For Pratt, the nearly four-hour ordeal was not how she envisioned her first day in the neighbourhood, but she was grateful for the response by emergency personnel.
“All these measure(s), I appreciate it, I appreciate them coming and getting us. Protecting us. And it’s terrible.”
For District Chief Baker, the incident, on the anniversary of Woodman Avenue brought back memories of that terrifying night.
“I was on scene at Woodman Ave. and yeah, the whole thing is coming back, in regards to this incident being very similar where a vehicle striking the gas meter and having explosive range of fuel within the house.”
The owner of the truck did not want to appear on camera, but told CTV News someone attempted to steal his truck after he started it this morning. London police are now investigating the incident.
- With files from CTV's Tammy Heisel