An updated Wheatley post coming soon. Why are first responders and emergency workers not wearing full H2S protective gear? It damages the brain, even at very low concentrations.
Comment by a rural Albertan: they should have closed-up that town years ago … boom boom boom … oil and gas is more important … maybe it will actually don on people that anything they ever get fixed won’t be fixed for long … because this shit is f*cking CORROSIVE …
1999: Petroleum Resources Centre (Ministry of Natural Resources): “In the resulting rush of fortune-seekers, thousands of wells were drilled. As many as 50,000 wells may have been drilled in Ontario, although records are available for only 20,000.”
Warm up #1: Map of some of the Ontario energy wells (many of them leaking and or abandoned, including deadly sour gas) as of April 5, 2015. 3,600 of these have been frac’d as of that date (how many more since?) while Ontario gov’t lies publicly, claiming there has been/is no frac’ing there:
The area of this explosion is in the lower left hand side of the map – Chatham-Kent is labelled.
Warm-up #2b: 2017: “Frack Well Bashing” is going to get expensive! Frack Hit Demolition Derby Down Below: Drill, inject, bump ‘n crack, hit ‘n smash, bash ‘n dash, while Encana lies ‘n says, “We don’t frac. We stimulate.” 2 wells, 1 patch of dirt. Who gets the oil? The biggest bully. “Fracks hitting wells several miles away.”
Warm-up #3: 2013: Oil & gas industry crime-enabler, law-violating Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) used outside counsel Glenn Solomon, with JSS Barristers out of Calgary, to fight my lawsuit against AER where judges at every level of court (Supreme Court of Canada too) let him get away with lying, including in an official court filing (one of his lies: claiming I am a terrorist – without any evidence, no arrest, no charges – thus have no Charter rights). In this clip Mr. Solomon gives legal advice to another frac-harmed Alberta family on how companies use non-disclosure agreements (that rich rapists also use to keep raping) to continue causing harm again and again “down the street:”
‘Significant movement’ made in preparing to find source of Wheatley explosion by Lindsay Charlton, Aug 31, 2021, CTV Windsor
Municipal and provincial officials have formed a technical advisory group to build a framework for the investigation into the cause of a Wheatley explosion that levelled a downtown building. When will officials disclose the names of those people? I expect they were picked and will be controlled by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, and will enable the oil and gas industry crimes as is standard practice in Canada, while taking years to build and massage their “framework” that will go nowhere. If you want to know how it will likely play out, read award-winning Andrew Nikiforuk’s Slick Water.
According to Chatham-Kent Chief Administrative Officer Don Shropshire, “significant movement” has been made in investigating the source of the explosion that sent three people to the hospital last Thursday.
“Municipal and provincial officials met in Wheatley Monday and have formed a technical advisory group Comments and cross references below about “technical” groups engaging in fraud to enable industry’s leaks, explosions, sour gas fatalities etc. that will set parameters How many years will that take? for the investigation of the explosion and finding the source of the hydrogen sulfide leak which is the suspected cause,” he said. “Establishing how the effort will proceed is a necessary step to getting where we want to be.’ To delay and drag out and ultimately prevent accountability, responsible action and protection for others “down the street” so as to protect the polluters.
“There are structural issues regarding a number of buildings, contaminated debris and the leak itself,” he said. “It will be some time before we can contemplate allowing people into the area.”
Entegrus has restored power to about half of the 90 customers whose electricity was turned off following the blast.
A limited number of workers alongside emergency officials will be entering a section of the downtown area away from the immediate blast zone to board up windows that had been blown out.
According to the municipality, more than 100 households have sought help at the reception area set-up at the Wheatley Arena. The municipality says 13 families are being house and officials are assisting local groups in coordinating donations.
The Wheatley community has set up a food hub and donation reception centre at the Talbot Trail golf course in Wheatley, gift cards will also be accepted and distributed to those in need.
The municipality says residents who are looking to return to their properties in the non-evacuation zone should contact 519-350-2956 before returning to confirm their eligibility to return.
Wheatley Hotel’s owner says business was picking up before explosion, but now faces uncertain future, Paul De Goey says his hotel had only been open couple of months before last week’s blast by Jacob Barker, CBC News, Aug 30, 2021
A hotel owner in the closed-off area of downtown Wheatley, Ont., is not expressing optimism about the future of his business after last week’s explosion that injured 20 people and destroyed two nearby buildings.
“It was really starting to take off, now it’s just on hold, I guess,” Paul De Goey said.
“There’s ups and downs in every business, but this is just something we’d have never dreamt of.”
De Goey owns the Wheatley Hotel, right next to The Pogue on Talbot Road, a former pub that last Thursday’s explosion turned into rubble. He said he had just finished building the new four-room hotel with a lounge attached, and it had only been open a couple of months before the blast.
Chatham-Kent municipality said two buildings were destroyed and about half a dozen buildings will need to be examined for structural integrity.
De Goey has not been able to get past the barriers into the area to see his business up close, but looking at pictures, he believes it too is unsalvageable.
“If it had been downtown Toronto, I don’t believe it ever would have gotten this far.”
De Goey said he and his business partner probably spent around $1 million building the new hotel, but now he’s uncertain about the future.
“Now we have no direction of where we’re going — are we going to be able to go forward with this?” he said. “There’s just a lot of questions and nobody out here willing to give any answers.“
He said he is concerned about the future of his business, but has concerns about the homeowners in the surrounding area.
“If they don’t deem these buildings or houses as safe, who’s going to insure them, and if they can’t get insurance, then the next phone call is going to be the financial institution. Who’s going to finance a building that’s uninsurable?” De Goey said.
“Who’s going to pay for all this?” The harmed will, as usual, enabled by our legal-judicial industry, and deregulating gov’ts and non-regulating regulators, notably in Canada’s frac fields where greed is decimating the cap rock.
Chatham-Kent said it was working with Ontario’s Office of the Fire Marshal and consulting with technical experts to “analyze current risks and consider adjustments to the evacuation area and detour routes”.
April Rietdyk, general manager of community human services with the municipality, said their workers will meet with displaced families this week to look at longer-term plans for any who are unable to return to their homes in the near future.
“Some of the individuals that lived very, very close to that explosion site, they will certainly be out longer than some of the individuals who live kind of on the perimeter of that evacuation zone,” she said. “It all is dependent on when that zone gets clear, and when utilities get turned back on and when people can return to their homes safely.”
She said they’ve been given no indication of when that might be.
Rietdyk added that, as of end of day Saturday, her workers have helped 75 families with everything from gift cards for food and clothing, to finding shelter. She said they’ve assisted well over a dozen families with hotels, but others are being given accommdations by community members.
“It’s amazing to see the community step up and take care of their neighbours. It’s really quite touching actually,” she said.
The municipality had no update Sunday about the work being done at the site, but on Saturday said the situation remained unstable, and they were speaking with the province to bring in technical experts to find the source of the leak.
GoFundMe launched to support residents and businesses in Wheatley following blast by Adelle Loiselle, August 30, 2021, Blackburn News
Over the past two days, a GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $20,000 to help residents and business owners impacted by last week’s explosion in downtown Wheatley.
The campaign was set up by Lauren Anderson and started with a goal of $20,000. That goal was reached, and quickly surpassed, by late Monday morning.
A hydrogen sulphide leak is behind the blast Thursday afternoon that levelled The Pogue Irish Pub and damaged many other buildings on Erie Street at Talbot Road East.
The Municipality of Chatham-Kent wants the province to find the source and is working with representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Solicitor General’s office.
“The result [of the explosion] has completely shut down all businesses in our town’s core, and multiple families have been evacuated,” read the campaign. “While it is understood that Municipal, Provincial, and Federal governments have a responsibility to assist, we as a community have always come together in a time of need.”
Anderson wrote the funds would help those families that have been displaced and businesses that have shut down. …
Meanwhile, the reception centre at Wheatley Arena remains open for residents affected by the explosion who are looking for information regarding food, accommodation, and other emergency needs. The centre will stay open for as long as there is demand for its services.
As of Monday, the municipality has placed 15 households consisting of 33 individuals in local hotels and motels and has provided some form of assistance to more than 85 households.
According to a municipal media release, many of the households displaced were able to find accommodations on their own.
Potential for another explosion in Wheatley by Bird Bouchard, Aug 30, 2021, The Ridgetown Independent News
Following a gas explosion in Wheatley that brought down two buildings and injured more than a dozen people, officials warn there is still a possibility of another blast.
Chatham-Kent officials said 20 people were injured in a blast at the corner of Erie Street and Talbot Street in the small Southwestern Ontario town. Thirteen people were treated at the scene, seven others were taken to hospitals in Windsor and Leamington, including three with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. One Chatham-Kent employee remains in hospital at press time.
Emergency crews evacuated buildings for several blocks surrounding the site. While officials do not know what triggered the blast, they believe abandoned natural gas wells in the area could be behind the explosive leak. Chatham-Kent Fire Chief Chris Case stated that there is currently no indication of how the explosion was triggered.
“I have no idea how we can get in and stabilize the situation while this ongoing risk is emanating from the ground,” he said.
“I’m quite angry that our firefighters keep returning to save lives on three occasions while we still have this ongoing risk.”
Case highlighted the fact that there is a risk of another explosion.
“That is why the evacuation is always two blocks,” Case explained. “Because we are basically surrounding the area of occupied buildings to try to reduce the risk, and we have our police and public works officials restricting people driving into the area. But at this time, we do not know what’s happening under the ground.”
Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Canniff is calling on the Ontario government to find the source of the leak. He said the municipality can’t investigate because toxic gas is still around the area of the explosion. The municipality of Chatham-Kent issued a news release Friday afternoon urging the government to “correct the issue.”
“Gas is still present and leaking at the scene,” Canniff said. “It is an unsafe area and unstable.”
“We still have gas coming out of the ground, and until that stops, it’s not safe to be in the area,” said Shropshire. “Until the gas subsides and we no longer have the hydrogen sulphide detected, we expect that area will remain closed indefinitely.”
… Investigators from the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal have been called in to investigate. The provincial agency investigates arsons, explosions, large-loss fires and blazes that cause serious injuries or fatalities.
Wheatley residents who need food, shelter or clothing are being directed to call 3-1-1 or call 519-354-6628 after hours to speak with a case manager. …
Timeline: Explosion in downtown Wheatley, Ont. by CTVNewsWindsor.ca Staff, Aug 26, 2021, updated Aug 27, 2021
WINDSOR, ONT. — A timeline of events leading up to an explosion that levelled a building in downtown Wheatley, Ont.
June 28 – State of Emergency lifted in Wheatley
August 26 – Widespread damage after Wheatley, Ont. explosion
Search for Wheatley gas leak continues by CTV Windsor, Aug 28, 2021
WHEATLEY, ONT. — On-scene monitoring continued in Wheatley after a explosion Thursday that injuried 20 people.
The Ontario Fire Marshall’s Office and municipal staff confirm technical experts to are analyzing current ongoing risks.
“Our primary consideration has been and continues to be public safety,” says Chatham-Kent Chief Administrative Officer, Don Shropshire. “We recognize that this situation is difficult for residents and businesses in Wheatley and we will make whatever accommodation we can make but only if we can do so in a safe manner. At this point the situation remains unstable.”
Shropshire says municipal officials met with representatives of the Ministry of the Solicitor General and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Saturday to convey the urgency of finding the source of the hydrogen sulphide leak believed to be the cause of an explosion In Wheatley’s downtown core Thursday.
“I am certain provincial officials are fully aware of the issue and the consequences of inaction.” Shropshire said. “The province is committed to bringing in technical experts to assess how they can enter the evacuated zone with the aim of finding the source of the leak, stopping it and beginning the cleanup.”
Thursday marked the third time in the last three months that residents have had to evacuate due to the presence of the gas. An evacuation was underway Thursday when the explosion occurred.
Twenty people received medical aid and one Chatham-Kent employee remains in hospital as the result of a blast that leveled a building at 15 Erie Street North and severely damaged numerous others in the Erie/Talbot Street intersection.
The blast that rocked downtown Wheatley – 85 years ago by Calvi Leon, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter London Free Press, Aug. 27, 2021, Toronto Star Bravo! Excellent reporting.
The explosion in downtown Wheatley that hospitalized seven, levelled two buildings and left its 3,000 residents on edge is eerily similar to a huge blast that rocked the Chatham-area town nearly a century ago.
In its Jan. 15, 1936 editions, The London Free Press detailed an explosion that appeared to have been caused by a natural gas leak and levelled a central building on Erie Street – the same street affected Thursday evening.
“Villagers first on the scene said they saw four balls of smoke and flames burst through the roof of the building,” The Free Press wrote, “and then the entire structure crumbled into a heap.”
The blast 85 years ago, like the latest one, caused no deaths but two women were hurt by flying debris – just as 17 people were struck by debris in Thursday’s explosion, seven hurt badly enough to require hospitalization.
“The two women had a narrow escape from death in the explosion,” The Free Press reported. Damage was pegged at $50,000 in 1936, nearly $1 million in today’s dollars.
The exact cause of the Wheatley blast Thursday is not yet known, but Chatham-Kent officials said Friday abandoned natural gas wells in the area could be behind the leak in the town with a long history of dodging the worst from explosions involving combustible gas. Are companies frac’ing there, cumulatively increasing gas migration and risks of explosions and or sour gas deaths?
Wheatley, southwest of Chatham, is in an area of Southwestern Ontario with plentiful natural gas deposits, which were mined early to provide lighting and heat.
Gas became available to homes and businesses in Wheatley about 1907. There were seven wells in the town. The Beaver Gas and Oil Company, later called Union Gas, eventually installed a new pipeline to serve more people.
It continues: “It was gas seeping from one of them that caused the explosion of the I.O.O.F (Independent Order of Odd Fellows) Block” in 1936.
The block belonged to the IOOF, an international fraternal order, and was home to the town’s post office, council chambers, funeral parlors and lodge quarters. The building was “considered Wheatley’s finest,” The Free Press reported.
Six years before that, in 1930, another gas explosion destroyed the fire hall.
More recently, in 2004, an explosion believed to be caused by natural gas damaged a Wheatley home on Erie Street, totalling about $250,000 in damages.
Firefighters and emergency crews remained at the scene of the latest blast Friday. Investigators from the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal have been called to investigate. The Municipality of Chatham-Kent is calling on the provincial government to investigate, too.
Thursday’s blast followed a summer of high anxiety in Wheatley triggered by leaks of hydrogen sulfide, in June and July, both of which forced evacuations from the downtown and triggered a state of emergency to be declared.
Gas detectors installed in the fallout were credited with helping to avert disaster. They went off at about 4:30 p.m. Thursday and officials started clearing residents out of downtown. The explosion happened at about 6 p.m.
The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada
Another explosion could happen in Wheatley, Ont.: Chatham-Kent Fire Chief by Michelle Maluske, With files from CTV Windsor’s Chris Campbell, CTV Windsor News, Aug 27, 2021
WINDSOR, ONT. — Officials are warning that there is a risk of a secondary explosion after a gas explosion in a building injured three people in downtown Wheatley, Ont. Thursday.
In an audio news conference Friday, Fire Chief Chris Case admitted there is a risk of another explosion in the small community.
“I have no idea how we can stabilize the situation,” Chief Case said.
Late Thursday, a gas explosion levelled one building, destroyed part of another and four or five other buildings on the street are “structurally unsound” according to Case.
An evacuation was underway when the building exploded.
More than 100 people from the municipality responded to the blast, three were injured. Two were involved in the evacuation and one was monitoring gas levels.
One staff member is still in hospital after having emergency surgery late Thursday with unidentified injuries; however, officials say the surgery went well.
Two others were treated at hospital, but officials only know that one of them was released.
The status of the third victim is unknown.
Officials will not say if the victims were firefighters or municipal staff.
Case says 20 people in total were seen by paramedics, 13 were treated and released at scene.
Officials describe all of their injuries as not life-threatening but that they’ve had a very stressful 24 hours.
Case expressed frustration that his firefighters are continually going to the area to protect residents, and are putting themselves in harm’s way for a situation they can’t contain.
“To be clear, I need someone to come and ascertain where this gas is coming from and how we’re going to stop it before we can do any work on site,” says Case.
“We literally have a rubble pile with a poisonous, toxic, corrosive and explosive gas coming up through the floor.”
Case describes the scene as “total devastation” and it remains unstable.
“Unacceptable, for the people of Wheatley to be living in fear,” said Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Cannif.
He says gas is still present at the scene and asks “everyone to stay away from there, please don’t go gawking. It is an unsafe area. Please stay away.”
Canniff urges residents to call 911 if they smell gas. They are fortunate they can smell it, even though sour gas is deadly and harms the brain and nervous system at very low concentrations. Methane is odorless. Many of the oil and gas industry’s leakers that cause fatal explosions have no odour (industry adds mercaptin in processing to give the gas a warning stink).
There has been a history of gas leaks in the community. In the 1930s, there was an explosion on the same block a little further north, according to Chatham-Kent Chief Administrative Officer Don Shropshire.
“We’ve been told by some private sector folks that the most probable case might be an abandoned gas well,” he says.
Shropshire says the gas reading H2SG is still being detected at the site of the explosion.
Officials are hoping residents will check their home surveillance cameras to see if there is any footage they can use for when they start the investigation into why the gas exploded.
He believes it’s up to the Government of Ontario to “stand up and take a leadership role” in the investigation.
Since the gas was first detected in June, there have been three evacuations of the area and officials say the province has not reacted with “sense of urgency” they had hoped for.
Officials says its “most probable” the gas is coming from an abandoned gas well.
“We believe that the provincial government has a direct responsibility to deal with things, like, specifically an abandoned gas wells” says CAO Shropshire. “What the cause is what, if anything, can be done to mitigate that.”
Local officials say they will be meeting with the Ministry of Natural Resources Friday at 1 p.m. Good luck, you’ll need a lot of it. I expect oil patch buddy Premier Doug Ford and his gov’t will provide empty words, lots of sweet promises, deflection, delay and zero responsible action.
Shropshire says the ministry has been working on a plan for the Wheatley gas. Like Alberta Premier Ralph Klein’s many non-action non-plan plans?
“In hindsight, we would have loved to have had that started in June,” says Shropshire. “It’s taken longer than we would ever have wanted.”
Ongoing gas leak, explosive risk hindering work at site of Wheatley blast which injured 20 by Matthew Trevithick with files from Nick Westoll, August 27, 2021, Global News
Residents in the small southwestern Ontario community of Wheatley are being asked to stay away from the scene of Thursday’s large explosion as a result of an ongoing hydrogen sulphide gas leak which is continuing to hamper the work of first responders.
At least 20 people were injured in the blast, which occurred just after 6 p.m. in the area of Erie Street and Talbot Road in Wheatley’s core. Emergency crews had arrived in the area about 90 minutes prior after monitoring devices alerted an increased presence of gas.
During a conference call update Friday, local emergency and municipal officials confirmed that gas remained present in the area and was continuing to leak, furthering the risk of a possible second explosion.
“That is why the evacuation zone is two blocks, because we are basically surrounding the area with unoccupied buildings to try and reduce the risk,” Chris Case, Chatham-Kent’s fire chief, told reporters.
“We have our police and public works officials restricting people driving into the area so that we can keep the numbers down. At this time, we do not know what is happening under the ground.”
“We ask everyone to stay away from there. Please don’t go out gawking, et cetera, et cetera. It is an unsafe area and it’s unstable,” Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Canniff said.
Remarkably, no one was killed in the blast, however, at least three people were hospitalized for non-life-threatening severe injuries, while four were hospitalized for minor/moderate non-life-threatening injuries. Thirteen others were treated and released at the scene, Case said.
Three of the injured parties worked for the municipality, including one who needed emergency surgery.
Crews were in the process of evacuating people in the area when the explosion occurred. In all, more than 100 first responders descended on Wheatley to tend to the aftermath, including the OPP, Windsor EMS, and members of Ontario’s hazardous materials and urban search and rescue teams, officials said. Will they invoice industry or CAPP, industry’s lying propaganda machine, or those that richly profit off financing the polluting industry (eg banks and investors), to pay for these massive costs? Of course not, only taxpayers and the many adversely impacted pay for industry’s horrific harms to the public, enabled by our cowardly lying legal and judicial industries, politicians, and regulators.
“I can’t overemphasize the amazing response of the first responder teams. They saved lives yesterday. There’s no doubt in my mind,” said Canniff.
“They were out there and evacuated a number of people from the area. If anybody’s seen the picture of the scene and the explosion, you know that if you were right in the heart of that, it wouldn’t have been good.”
It’s not yet clear exactly how many people have been displaced, but those who have been are asked to call 311 or contact the reception centre at Wheatley Arena. Businesses impacted will be contacted by Chatham-Kent’s Economic Development Team.
The city of London has also offered help to the community of Wheatley “whenever they may need it,” according to a tweet from Josh Morgan, London’s deputy mayor.
The ongoing gas leak is impeding the work of crews and investigators at the site, including members of the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office. Officials say no work can be done, including finding out what specifically triggered the explosion, until the origins of the gas are determined.
“You literally have a rubble pile with a poisonous, toxic, corrosive and explosive gas coming up through the floor,” Case said. “I need someone to come and provide technical expertise about how we can stabilize the situation before we go anywhere near that building.”
The blast is the latest in what has been a summer of evacuations and state of emergency declarations for the residents of Wheatley, located just north of Point Pelee National Park and approximately 35 minutes southwest of Chatham.
Problems first began on June 2 when hydrogen sulphide gas was first discovered in the same area as Thursday’s explosion, triggering the evacuation of more than two dozen residents and the declaration of a state of emergency.
Hydrogen sulphide is a colourless, corrosive and poisonous flammable gas that smells like rotten eggs and can cause chest pain, difficulty breathing, vomiting and headaches.
At the time, officials said the gas was consistent with a leak coming from an underground well, but that had not been determined, and it wasn’t clear where the gas was coming from.
By June 4, no gas was detected, and by June 19, the evacuation order had been lifted for most properties, excluding 9 Talbot St. and 15 Erie St. N. In a statement at the time, the municipality said they were working with the property owners to install gas monitors before lifting the state of emergency.
However, on July 20, nearly a month later, the community fell under a second evacuation order and state of emergency declaration after the gas monitor at 15 Erie St. N. detected hydrogen sulphide. At least 52 people in 23 homes and 13 businesses were evacuated around the area.
Analysis of a sample taken by hazmat crews suggested the location of the gas was “deep within the earth. A thermogenic gas response,” Case said Friday. I expect the gov’t et al will still blame bacteria and or nature, and Wheatley’s people for being dirty like they did/do to us in frac fields in the “highly highly regulated” West, and never mention frac’ing.
By July 22, the state of emergency had been reduced to just 15 Erie St. N., after readings over the prior 24 hours “indicated no presence of gas,” according to a release at the time.
The state of emergency declaration, however, remained active, and was still in place at the time of Thursday’s explosion.
In an update dated Aug. 3, the municipality said it had received a commitment from the province to investigate the gas leaks, identify the source, and determine what might be done to stop further incidents. In my experience and that of many other frac-harmed Canadians, commitments from gov’ts and regulators are useless. Look to their actions or lack of, not their promises.
More than three weeks removed, however, Chatham-Kent officials expressed frustration Friday at what they say has been a lack of action. “It’s unacceptable for the people of Wheatley to live in fear,” Mayor Canniff said.
“We are continuing to ask the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to take on the responsibility and control of the situation and use their authority and expertise to find the source and correct the issue.” Refer to the cross references below. I am sad to say, I expect Wheatley will be waiting a long long time.
Don Shropshire, Chatham-Kent’s chief administrative officer, told reporters that while the municipality was responsible for the emergency response, the responsibility for managing abandoned gas wells, believed to be the source of the leak, rests with the province.
“Last night, to their credit, they did call in, but we’re asking them to take control of the situation and to lead the investigation to determine what the source of the gas is and what, if anything, can be done to avoid another event from occurring,” Shropshire said.
“As the mayor said, we don’t want people living in fear. We want the province to step up and take control. We do not have either the legislative authority to ask property owners to do the investigation, nor do we have the mandate — that rests with the province.”
He noted that since the previous gas-related incidents in Wheatley, the province, at the municipality’s urging, had formed a working group to look into the leaks, as well as the issue of abandoned gas wells across southwestern Ontario.
Slide from Ernst presentations. The gov’t will have the task force go round and round going nowhere, wasting time, to delay and finally prevent action. The harmed in Wheatley and elsewhere must scream much louder and longer.
“They’ve identified a person to serve as project lead for that. They have been in communications with us,” he said. Frac patent holder, frac-enabler Dr. Maurice Dusseault? Frac-promoter and enabler, data & his own warnings ignorer Dr. John Cherry? Fraudster, data-changer, nature & history blamer Dr. Alex Blyth?
“I think the frustration we’ve had is wanting to have them actually take the lead and start controlling the investigation and trying to get information to identify the source and what steps can be taken to mitigate.”
980 CFPL reached out to the province for comment but did not receive a response by publishing time. Municipal officials say they have requested a meeting with the province to demand a formal plan of action. Good. Demand Loud and Long, not silently like the cowards in the West.
Shropshire said while there was a sense of relief among the public that no one died and that more people weren’t hurt, there was “a lot of frustration” knowing this was the third gas-related incident the community has seen in as many months.
Thursday’s explosion isn’t the first of its kind to be recorded in Wheatley. According to a publication released in 1951 by the Kent Historical Society, the community was the scene of an blast that destroyed the I.O.O.F. Block in 1935, the result of gas seeping from an abandoned well in the town.
“Excitement ran high when it was learned that gas wells were being bored in Romney (Twp.), and there was an abundant supply,” the publication states.
“Farmers, on whose farms the wells were bored, received $200 a year and were each given free gas for heating and lighting. Wheatley streets were lighted with gas and everyone used it for all domestic purposes when it was piped through the village about 1907.”
Seven gas wells were bored in Wheatley, the publication says, adding that they “eventually played out, but even yet at times they are active” — alluding to the leak that caused the 1935 blast.
Asked about this historical detail Friday, Shropshire said officials were aware of the 1930s explosion, but had not heard of any subsequent events.
“We’ve been told by some private sector folks that the most probable cause of this gas leak is that it might be an abandoned gas well,” he said.
“Our area has hundreds, if not thousands of abandoned gas wells. They stretch from Niagara Peninsula to Windsor.”
Shropshire noted that the municipality has asked and has tried to collect information and historical evidence that may aid them in their search for the source of the current gas leak.
“The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry records, some of those are quite old. We have a record that there were at least two abandoned gas wells in close proximity to where the explosion was. But the records are only good within 200 metres,” he said.
“If you draw a 200-metre circle around the where the explosion site was, that would include a large part of downtown Wheatly,” he added.
“Until you get some better information … it’s not practical to go in and start digging up holes (and) trying to identify where this is, because every time you do that, you’re at risk of having another type of an event.”
‘The whole place was shaking’: Community reacts to Wheatley, Ont. explosion by CTVNewsWindsor.ca Staff, with quotes from CTV Windsor’s Bob Bellacicco Aug 27, 2021
WINDSOR, ONT. — Rayon Henderson and his wife were making dinner for their children when they heard an explosion across the street from their Whealty, Ont. residence.
“I heard a loud explosion and I look and saw like smoke and light of fire go up in the air. The whole place was shaking,” he told CTV News.
His children, three and one and a half were in the front room playing when the blast went off.
“All the windows in the front blew out and my two kids were playing in the living room at the time and they were traumatized,” Henderson explained. “We grabbed them and ran out.”
“Sounded like a bomb dropped from an airplane or something,” he said.
Emergency crews were called to the scene around 6:30 p.m. to a building on Talbot Road East and Elm Street, which previously houses the Pogue Irish Pub.
The explosion happened near the area where hydrogen sulphide gas was first discovered back in June, prompting an evacuation order and the declaration of a state of emergency.
Bharat Prajapati who owns the Subway across the street from where the explosion happened said there were three employees in the restaurant who were thankfully working toward the back, and there were no customers inside at the time.
“They had a little bit of scratch, by the glasses, but not major injury,” he said.
The explosion is devastating to the business which has been hammered throughout the pandemic, and was shut down for 15 days last month after another emergency order was issued due to the gas leak. It will now be closed indefinitely. While explaining this to CTV, Prajapati got emotional.
“So I hope we get the compensation,” Prajapati said through tears. I never have, I’ve only received after nearly 20 years: secrets, lies, deflection, defamation including by the Supreme Court of Canada, abuse and more abuse, quitting and lying lawyers (Cory Wanless and Murray Klippenstein, both based in Ontario), costing me nearly $500,000.00 and I still have gas contaminated, frac’d water by Encana/Ovintiv too dangerous to live with or even use for flushing toilets.
The Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal confirmed investigators are currently on scene and are looking into the cause of the explosion.
Messages of support are pouring in for those impacted by the explosion that sent three people to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Chatham-Kent EMS general manager Donald McLelland was away during the event but said in a tweet he is proud of the “outstanding response” by the Chatham-Kent EMS staff, Chatham-Kent fire department, police and Essex Windsor EMS partners.
“Amazing collaboration and joint efforts on providing care and support for all,” he said. “Thank you everyone!”
Ontario Premier Doug Ford thanked the first responders as well, saying the province will work will the Municipality of Chatham-Kent to support them anyway it can.
“This is such horrible news. My heart goes out to those who were injured,” he said. “Thank you to all the first responders who were on scene to help.”
Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens also offered up the support of the City of Windsor should Chatham-Kent need.
“I’m saddened over the devastating news out of Wheatley. My thoughts are with all residents, business owners and EMS affected by this tragedy,” he said. “Windsor is ready to lend our support in whatever way is needed.”
The Wheatley Arena has been opened to those displaced by the exposition and city transportation has been made available.
“Our thoughts are with all those affected by yesterday’s events in Wheatley,” a tweet from Windsor Police Service said. “We wish everyone who was injured a speedy and full recovery.”
CTV News has created this timeline of the events in downtown Wheatley that led up to Thursday’s explosion.
PROBE LAUNCHED AFTER EXPLOSION IN WHEATLEY, ONT. by Gord Bacon, Aug 27, 2021
Officials now say 20 people were injured and three were treated in the hospital following an explosion in Wheatley.
The blast shook the town’s core at the corner of Erie and Talbot Streets around 6 p.m. Thursday, heavily damaging two building and forcing the on-going evacuation of nearby homes and businesses.
Ontario’s solicitor general says the province has launched an investigation and that officials in the municipality of Chatham-Kent are working with the provincial investigation.
Chatham-Kent Fire Chief Chris Case says the province needs to send help from the Ministry of Natural Resources before the investigation can move forward.
“To be clear, I need someone to come and ascertain where the gas is coming from and how we’re going to stop it before we can do any work,” he says. “We literally have a rubble pile with a toxic, corrosive and explosive gas coming up through the floor.”
Case says it’s hard to determine how many people have been displaced by the incident.
“Because as you can imagine, some people self evacuated last night and went to stay with friends and relatives,” he says. “There was a very small number last night the sought assistance, but we know from experience, that number will increase over the next couple of days as people can no longer stay with friends and relatives.”
Evacuation efforts got underway immediately after a gas alarm went off around 4:30 p.m.
Mayor Darrin Canniff says there’s no doubt that first responders saved lives Thursday night.
“If anybody has seen the pictures of the scene and the explosion, you know that if you were right in the heart of that, it wouldn’t have been good,” he added.
John Theissen owns an apartment building directly across the street from the blast and says several of his tenants were hurt.
“My lower apartment tenants were both sent to the hospital. I think they’re at home now but they’re doing okay,” he says. “He’s in worse shape because he was close to the window when it exploded.”
Now that he knows his tenants are all okay, his focus is on putting things back together.
“We’ll see what time brings. I hope they’re going to fix the problem and I hope I get help to fix things because I just redid the apartments, all the windows, and everything is blown out of it,” he added.
A reception centre has been established at the Wheatley Arena for those who have been evacuated from the affected area.
Residents who have been displaced are encouraged to contact the municipality for help.
Case says there’s no timeline for when the evacuation order will be lifted as the threat of a second explosion is very real at this time.
A two block radius has been evacuated and that could expand, according to case.
Hydrogen sulfide gas has been detected in the basement of the building at the epicenter of the explosion at different points throughout the summer, most recently in July.
Wheatley, Ont., still at risk after explosion that injured 20, officials say, Chatham-Kent municipality urges province to step in to determine source of gas leak by Chris Ensing and Jennifer La Grassa, CBC News, Aug 27, 2021
After a gas explosion in Wheatley that injured 20 people and destroyed two buildings Thursday, Chatham-Kent officials in the southwestern Ontario municipality say the area remains at risk of another blast.
“It’s unacceptable for the people of Wheatley to live in fear,” That’s how I’ve lived since I found out in Dec 2005 that Encana/Ovintiv illegally frac’d my community’s drinking water aquifers in 2004 – always afraid my well will explode or the community’s frac’d drinking water reservoir would explode a second time (first explosion of Rosebud’s water tower seriously injured and hospitalized Wheatland County’s water manager and destroyed the water tower. Residents had to pay for a new one, not law-violating aquifer-fracing Encana/Ovintiv. said Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Canniff in a call Friday morning that provided an update.
Canniff is calling on the Ontario government to find the source of the leak, saying the municipality can’t investigate because toxic gas is still around the area the explosion. “Gas is still present and leaking at the scene,” Canniff said. “It is an unsafe area, and unstable.”
Of 20 injured, 1 still in hospital
Around 6 p.m. ET, two buildings at the corner of Erie Street North and Talbot Road East in downtown Wheatley collapsed after the explosion. Municipal officials say hydrogen sulphide gas was detected at around 4:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon.
Canniff said the immediate area was evacuated, and municipal staff were working to move more people out of nearby spaces when the explosion took place.
Of those injured, 13 were released at the scene and seven were sent to hospital. Three were treated in hospital with non-life-threatening, severe injuries, and four were treated for moderate injuries not a danger to their lives.
Three of the injured were municipal workers, according to officials.
I’m quite angry that our firefighters continually return to save lives on three occasions whilst we still have this unknown risk.- Chris Case, Chatham-Kent fire chief
One of the municipal staff members remained in hospital Friday morning after having emergency surgery. The municipality’s chief administrative officer, Don Shropshire, says the person is recovering well.
Gas leak coming from abandoned well
Officials say the gas is coming from an abandoned well in the area and it’s the province’s responsibility to investigate.
Shropshire said the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has created a working group to investigate gas wells across southwestern Ontario. With a pre-determined conclusion, as usual, to blame bacteria, rising aquifer, nature, dirty Ontario residents? Always protecting the true criminals: Oil & Gas Companies and their hundreds of thousands of abandoned leakers and their hundred of thousands of operating leakers?
“We’re asking the province to step up and take control,” he said, adding Chatham-Kent doesn’t have the authority to ask property owners to do the investigation.
He added the municipality had a call with the ministry Thursday night.
CBC News has reached out to the ministry for comment.
Chatham-Kent fire Chief Chris Case said they still don’t know what sparked the explosion and need to investigate the area further.
“We literally have a rubble pile with a poisonous, toxic, corrosive and explosive gas coming up from the floor, and I need someone to come and provide technical expertise about how we can stabilize the situation before we can go anywhere near that building,” he said.
“I’m quite angry that our firefighters continually return to save lives on three occasions whilst we still have this unknown risk, and we’re still seeking someone to assist in … protecting our community.”
A few of the comments:
Hope the injured fully recover.
This sort of thing doesn’t happen with electricity.
A code red for humanity has been declared – fossil fuels are destroying our future!
Why do tax payers have to always beg for help from governments? Because our politicians and regulators (enabled by too many judges) give the money and help to billionaires in other countries and coal, oil, gas and frac companies (even those that are bankrupt). There are no tax dollars left to help us. What the hell is wrong ~ send them HELP
That sounds like a satanic problem. As in if the H2S is from a decomissioned well where the cement job or casing has failed, chances are there may be a building on top of said well. That the gas appeared to be bubbling up out of the sewer (another article) suggests that the gas well is in the area but not neccessarily under the building that blew up – gas will take the path of least resistance, including sewer pipes. I cannot imagine that there is much in the way of equipment nor expertise in the immediate area. Sarnia or Nanticoke would have refinery equipment for LDAR (leak detection and repair) that would be able to handle H2S, and they would have the PPE for acid gas (H2S is highly corrosive in addition to highly flammible and toxic). Then you need to clear the site for a service rig to come in and drill and recement the well. Anyone thinking this is an easy thing to do is sorrily mistaken.
Jeff Smith Reply to @Justin Steele:
Gas in ONT is sweet and comes from low pressure reservoirs . An accumulation in a basement or sewer is likely the volume needed for an explosion Working for the gov’t? CAPP?
James Brown Reply to @Jeff Smith: You might want to check with the residents of Norfolk county…. it wasn’t “sweet” gas that forced the evacuation of the area in 2019. The area is riddled with gas wells.
Gaelin Forsythe Reply to @Justin Steele:
I appreciate your knowledge Justin
Again abandoned wells continue to plague this country . When will it stop ? When will oil and gas companies be held accountable ?In Caveman Oil ‘n Gas Polluted Canada, where our regulators look the other way, judges lie in rulings to protect our law-violating regulators (and defame the harmed seeking justice), and lawyers quit and lie (including in sworn affidavit filed in court) and withhold case files and property of clients they quit with their regulator (Ontario’s LSO) enabling it? I think never.
james bolt Reply to @David Railton: These risks are entirely due to old technology that is only keep around because certain people make money form it.
The Age of Oil and Gas should have died its natural death decades ago
Lieschen Mueller: Find the source of the leak, and if there was any negligence or incompetence, major punishments must occur. That’ll never happen in Canada, least of all in Doug Ford’s Ontario. Oil and gas is insanely worshipped no matter how many it kills, what it blows up or how much water, land, air and health is contaminated; our country and it’s judicial industry is too oil and gas industry dirty and corrupt, from coast to coast to coast.
Let the professionals, deal with this. Arm chair yahoos are amusing but get people killed. Questions is this a utility break? Why the elevated H2S readings? Geologically, not a O&G area of interest. There appears to be more here. CALL BEFORE YOU DIG! Is that you Doug Ford? Or Alberta frac-harm enabling authorities: Peter Watson, Darin Barter, Niel McCrank, Rick McKee, Bev Yee, Martin Foy, Darren Bourget, Gerry Protti and many many more? Gwyn Morgan, CEO of Encana/Ovintiv when it illegally frac’d my community’s drinking water aquifers?
Gas and oil. We need to stop using this primitive technology … alternative generation and battery storage is already more efficient and less expensive
Will we hear from the Premier? Or is he still under the cone of silence imposed on him and Jason Kenney by O”Toole … Erin doesn’t need voters being reminded of how Cons behave when in power.
Business owners in Wheatley, Ont., demand answers after explosion injures 3, destroys 2 buildings, Toxic, flammable gas first detected June 2 in town’s core by CBC News, Aug 27, 2021
In the hours after an explosion rocked the heart of Wheatley, Ont., on Thursday, reducing two buildings to rubble and injuring three people, business owners were questioning the response to an unsolved, ongoing gas leak in the area.
“It wasn’t dealt with properly, I don’t think. It was just a matter of time,” said Barry Broadbent, who owns the Car Barn restaurant, a couple of buildings down from the blast.
Broadbent described the aftermath of the explosion as mayhem, and was amazed and thankful more people were not injured.
Nearby business owner describes ‘mayhem’ following Wheatley explosion
“The government, they’ve had three months to do something about this — three full months and nobody’s done anything other than monitor,” said Maurice Raffoul, who owns MJ’s Pizza, which was destroyed in the explosion. “I’m just not impressed with our municipal government or our Ontario government.
Don Shropshire, chief administrative officer of Chatham-Kent, said the municipality did exactly what it should have done.
“Everything worked today,” he told CBC News in the hours following the explosion.
“The fire services responded to the call, the detection equipment was put in place by the private business owner at The Pogue, the work that the municipality did to have gas detection — that all worked and people were moved out of harm’s way before the explosion.”
Ontario solicitor general Sylvia Jones said Friday that the province had been working with Chatham-Kent on the issue prior to the explosion, will continue to support the municipality.
“Our hearts go out to those who have been injured and all those affected by this tragic event,” Jones said in a statement.
How this all started
A toxic, flammable gas was first detected on June 2 in the core of the town of about 3,000 people. It required a response from Chatham-Kent’s fire department and Windsor’s hazardous materials team that resulted in a weeks-long state of emergency. Dozens of people were forced to leave their homes and several businesses were shut down while the source of the hydrogen sulphide leak was investigated.
“We know it’s coming out the ground between two buildings next door to the pub,” Chatham-Kent fire Chief Chris Case told CBC Radio’s Windsor Morning on June 4.
A second state of emergency was declared on July 19 after gas was detected once more at 15 Erie St. N., where The Pogue Irish Pub has sat empty for years. Once again, dozens of people were forced from their homes and buildings to close down.
Weeks later, the area of concern was narrowed down to just 15 Erie St. N., which would be monitored for gas.
“The ongoing monitoring offers an increased level of safety for those working in the building and ensures emergency services can be notified and a further public evacuation can be implemented, if needed,” wrote Shropshire on Aug. 3.
The building was destroyed in Thursday’s explosion, which occurred hours after monitoring devices placed at the site indicated the presence of gas late in the afternoon.
“This shouldn’t have happened. Someone should have been down here a long time ago to take care of this problem and they sat on it. They sat on it — that’s it,” said Raffoul, who operated his pizza shop for 35 years in a building now flattened. “If that would have exploded right away, who knows what would have happened?”
No known source of gas leak
Before Thursday, gas had last been detected at the site on July 19.
“We had never been able to identify the source of the gas leak,” said Shropshire shortly after the latest explosion.
“No one was in the building other than the gas detection people.”
Wheatley buildings decimated in explosion following gas leak
Shropshire said they’ve been working with the provincial government to figure out the source of the leak.
“We’ve been told that there could be a number of different sources for the leak, but the most likely one, the most probable, is that it’s an abandoned gas well.”
Difficult and potential deadly
Days after the first leak was detected in June, Scott Mundle, one of Canada’s foremost experts in identifying gases from abandoned wells, told CBC’s Windsor Morning that fixing an abandoned well could be difficult.
“This is something that’s routinely done and is highly, highly regulated in Western Canada.What Trumpian drug is Mr. Mundle smokin’? There are dangerous leakers, including deadly sour, all over Western Canada, including in cities, churches, and even under Calgary’s new international airport terminal, with scant little being done except the regulator keeping the evidence secret even though Alberta Health admits the leaks are a danger to public health. Companies ignore regulations (including brute Encana/Ovintiv), regulators deregulate to help them, judges lie in rulings at the Supreme Court to help Alberta’s Charter-violating regulator get away with it, and worse, also get away with it; lawyers lie and quit cases, violating the rules of their profession, withhold private property of their client, with the lawyer regulator (LSO) making sure they too get away with it, etc. etc. etc. It’s frac’ing ugly in Canada, and the explosions are just getting started. It’s a little bit more challenging in Ontario because the oil and gas sector is actually a lot older, the records aren’t quite as good, and the risks are a little bit higher because of the differences in regulation,” said Mundle, a geochemistry professor at the University of Windsor.
“Really small amounts of this gas can cause adverse health effects, and even death.” Phew, Mr. Mundell is telling the truth here. Trying to look credible so as to con the harmed?
Scott Mundle, geochemistry professor at the University of Windsor, speaks with CBC Windsor Morning host Tony Doucette about a gas leak in Wheatley. 9:04 Min.
Shropshire said this kind of investigation goes “beyond our expertise as a municipality,” and said the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has been leading the file since early August.
He said the private sector has been consulted to help identify the source.
“The fact is we still need to know where that gas came from.”
PHOTOS: A Town and its residents reel after massive explosion by Postmedia news, Aug 27, 2012, The London Free Press
A dinner-hour explosion rocked the Chatham-area town of Wheatley Thursday, levelling two buildings, sending seven people to hospital and leaving the community of 3,000 wondering what other dangers may loom after two recent toxic-gas leaks. Dax Melmer, a Postmedia photojournalist with the Windsor Star, was in Wheatley Friday to document the fallout. Our journalists have also spoken with several residents and officials. Here are the photos, and the comments:
Hydrogen sulfide set off town’s alarms just before explosion. What is it? by Dave Waddell, Windsor Star, Aug 27, 2021, The London Free Press
WHEATLEY – The gas that set off detectors in this Chatham-area town shortly before a massive explosion rocked its main street is familiar to most Canadians for its rotten-egg smell, associated with leaking natural gas.
Hydrogen sulfide Mercaptin is used by natural gas companies specifically for its noxious aroma as a safety measure…hydrogen sulfide is dangerous on its own for its flammable and explosive properties.
“It’s very nasty stuff,” Western University chemistry professor Jamie Noel said. “It’s pretty common, but for people it’s deadly. It only takes 1000 parts per million to kill you instantly.
“It’s also very combustible. It explodes at about 41/2 per cent per volume in air.”
Chatham-Kent officials confirmed gas detectors in the demolished buildings – put in place by government officials after two recent toxic-gas leaks – recorded the presence of hydrogen sulfide prior to the explosion.
“We’re talking the most probable cause is an abandoned (gas) well,” said Chatham-Kent’s top administrator, Don Shropshire.
“This area has hundreds of abandoned wells from Niagara to Windsor.”
In Southwestern Ontario, hydrogen sulfide is commonly associated with such wells. Traces can also give well water that sulphur taste.
Hydrogen sulfide is soluble in water, most organic liquids and oil, but when agitated or in increasing temperatures solubility decreases and higher concentrations can build up.
Discovered by Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele in 1771 and commonly nicknamed swamp gas, hydrogen sulfide forms as the result of the bacterial action of breaking down decaying materials. That process also gives the colourless gas its rotten egg smell.
“It takes less than one part per million to smell it,” said Noel. “That’s its warning system. The warning doesn’t last long because it eventually destroys your sense of smell.”
Its health impacts are many and range from eye irritation and respiratory issues in lower dosages to death from higher exposures. The gas is found in the oil and gas, manufacturing, pulp and paper, agriculture, food processing, mining and sewage treatment industries.
Hydrogen Sulfide will spontaneously ignite at 270 C (518 F).
In addition to gas wells, hydrogen sulfide occurs naturally in sewers, volcanoes, hot springs and manure pits.
It collects in low-lying areas because it’s heavier than air.
Noel said the gas is relatively stable, but it’s capable of moving through fissures and cracks in the ground.
“It’ll collect in pockets and, when enough pressure builds up, it’ll burp to the surface,” Noel said. “It’s dangerous when enough of it accumulates.
“The other concern about it is the gas is also corrosive to metal underground.”
Seven people were hospitalized after the explosion, though none of the injuries are life-threatening. The downtown gas detectors went off at about 4:30 p.m. and municipal officials and emergency crews starting clearing out residents – the explosion happened at about 6 p.m.
Officials have said that 90-minute warning almost certainly saved lives.
Investigation underway into explosion that rocked small Ontario town of Wheatley by Emma Graney and Colin Graf, with a report from The Canadian Press, Aug 27, 2021, The Globe and Mail
Rubble is all that’s left of a downtown landmark that once housed an Irish pub in Wheatley, Ont., and dangerous gas is still being detected after an explosion flattened the building and injured 20 people.
The Thursday evening blast left the community on edge, as municipal officials warned Friday that the risk of another explosion remained high and called on the province to take immediate action.
With monitors around the perimeter of the evacuated site continuing to detect gas, Chatham-Kent Fire Chief Chris Case said in a statement Friday it was still too dangerous to enter the area.
The provincial government said the Ontario Fire Marshal is working with the Chatham-Kent Fire Department to investigate the cause of the explosion, which local and provincial officials believe was a century-old gas well.
The blast was close to a location where hydrogen sulphide gas was first discovered in June, prompting an evacuation order and the declaration of a state of emergency. Hydrogen sulphide is extremely flammable and highly toxic to humans, even at low concentrations. Effects range from headaches to unconsciousness and death.
The municipality said provincial inaction is putting the lives of residents and first responders at risk, and wants the province to do more.
“It is unacceptable for the people of Wheatley to live in fear,” said Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Canniff.
People from the town of around 3,000 gathered at police tape Friday, trying to catch a glimpse of the blast site as firefighters poured water on the rubble. One man drove a utility vehicle to bring water and other drinks to the emergency crews at the site on a scorching 30-degree day.
Officials were first called to the scene at around 4:30 p.m. Thursday, when gas monitoring devices at the site set off an alarm. First responders had cleared the buildings and were in the process of evacuating when the explosion occurred. One person injured in the blast remained in hospital Friday.
Whit Thiele, who owns the building destroyed in the explosion, told The Globe and Mail Friday he discovered the initial leak in June after a foul smell permeated the building.
As he searched the basement, the smell became stronger and a low hiss began. He recounted hearing a deep rumble before water and sludge started rising up into the basement from “every crack, every nook.” Calling the experience “horrifying,” he said he also saw puddles of rain water behind the building “bubbling like champagne.”
He fled the building with a friend and called 911. After receiving oxygen from EMS, they were told the gas could have killed them.
In July, the municipality declared a second state of emergency after confirming hydrogen sulphide was once again present in the building in the centre of town. That state of emergency remained in effect.
Ontario’s Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry told The Globe in an e-mail it has been working with a consultant since early August to determine the source of the leak and provide 24-hour monitoring.
Experts who have studied emissions from thousands of orphaned oil and gas wells scattered around Southern Ontario say the province must figure out the cause of the leak or risk more incidents, including possible explosions.
Mary Kang, an assistant professor at McGill University, specializes in greenhouse gas emissions related to oil and gas development.
Dr. Kang recently measured emissions from wells further east, in Norfolk County, but says those numbers are “just a drop in the bucket” when it comes to the scale of the legacy well problem facing the province.
“People now think of Texas and Alberta when they think of oil,” she said in an interview, but the first oil well was drilled in Ontario in 1858.
“If the well was drilled in the 1800s, I don’t think much explanation is needed for why they probably weren’t recorded properly, why no responsible party no longer exists, and why they may not have been abandoned to modern standards.”
Without taking specific measurements, she said, the number, age and condition of orphaned wells in the province makes it tough to know whether and how much a well is leaking, let alone if it will explode.
“If you were to ask me, ‘Could this happen again then?’ I would say yes, of course it could happen again,’” Dr. Kang said.
“I just don’t know when and where. No one does.”
University of Waterloo adjunct professor Richard Jackson has also studied methane and hydrogen sulphide leaks from legacy gas wells in southwestern Ontario, and told The Globe their condition poses a significant risk.
“If there’s any steel left in them, it’s corroding. If there’s any cement in them, it’s deteriorating,” he said.
“If you don’t fix a problem, it’s going to get worse. And that’s the problem with these old wells – it’s getting worse all the time.”
Last year, the federal government announced $1.7-billion to clean up orphaned and inactive wells in Alberta, Saskatchewan and B.C. In response, the Ontario Petroleum Institute asked Ottawa for $270 million to reclaim the thousands of orphan wells that pose environmental and safety hazards in that province.
Three hospitalized, widespread damage after Wheatley, Ont. building explosion by CTV News with files from CTV’s Angelo Aversa, August 26, 2021 VIDEO AT LINK
WINDSOR, ONT. — Three people have been sent to hospital with non-life threatening injuries after a building exploded in downtown Wheatley, Ont., according to Chatham-Kent officials.
Emergency crews were called around 6:30 p.m. to the building on Talbot Road East and Elm Street. People in the community say the building previously housed the Pogue Irish Pub.
An investigation to determine the cause of the explosion is underway, according to Chatham-Kent fire officials.
Kathryn Parent had just sat down for dinner at Renny’s Restuarant, just around the corner, when she heard the explosion go off.
“This huge blast-sounding kaboom happened. Things fell off the wall. The glass on the window exploded and rattled. The building shook,” said Parent, adding she had noticed fire trucks surrounding the area just hours before the explosion happened.
According to Chatham-Kent officials, monitoring devices placed at the site indicated the presence of gas at approximately 4:30 p.m. — about two hours before the explosion happened.
“Pray for our town. I mean we’re such a small town, a very tight community, and we’ve been just in turmoil since this happened,” said Wheatley Business Improvement Association member Kimberley Grant.
The municipality said Thursday that homes and businesses in the area have been evacuated and a reception centre has been set up at Wheatley Arena.
The explosion is in the vicinity of the location where hydrogen sulphide gas was first discovered back in June, prompting an evacuation order and the declaration of a state of emergency at the time.
In July, the municipality declared a second state of emergency after confirming hydrogen sulfide was once again present. The province was later tasked with investigating the source of the gas leaks, as the state of emergency remained in effect.
CTV News has created this timeline of the events in downtown Wheatley that led up to Thursday’s explosion.
The municipality said more information will be released Friday.
3 people injured and 2 buildings heavily damaged in Wheatley, Ont., after explosion by Nick Westoll, Aug 26, 2021, Global News
Two buildings have been damaged and three people have been injured after an explosion in Wheatley, Ont. Thursday evening.
Officials with the Municipality of Chatham-Kent said in a statement late Thursday that emergency crews were first called to the area of Erie Street and Talbot Road at around 4:30 p.m. after monitoring devices alerted an increased presence of gas, triggering a small evacuation. I asked Alberta officials for gas monitors (I bought my own, expensive, > $600.00 for one portable unit) for all impacted residents in frac fields with dangerous levels of industry’s gas, sour and or sweet in their water and or homes. They refused – that’s how “highly highly” our regulator protects life-threatening, home, business, ranch and water tower destroying oil and gas companies.However, as those crews began a wider evacuation, officials said that’s when the blast occurred. Photos posted on social media Thursday evening appeared to show varying damage to multiple properties.“
Buildings destroyed on main [street],” Chatham–Kent–Leamington MPP Rick Nicholls wrote in a Facebook post Thursday evening.“Cause not yet determined. I’ve reached out to the Minister of Natural [Resources] and Forestry and forwarded pics just in case the determination is a gas leak.”
Officials confirmed three people were treated by paramedics for non-life-threatening injuries.
Fire department personnel said residents near the scene who haven’t been evacuated should be prepared to leave.
An update issued by Ontario Provincial Police said the Wheatley Area Arena was being opened for people who were displaced by the explosion.
Crews with the Ontario government’s hazardous materials and urban search and rescue teams were called to assist.
The incident came nearly three months after a state of emergency was declared in the same area after officials said a
naturally mighty shitty to blame nature in an official news report when it’s been known for years that oil and gas wells are leaking sour gas in the area occurring hydrogen sulphide gas leak was detected. Residents had to be evacuated at that time.
In July, a second state of emergency was declared after hydrogen sulphide gas was detected at a commercial building on Erie Street North. Officials noted in the statement that emergency declaration wasn’t rescinded.
Images shared on social media appeared to show the heaviest damage at the site identified in July.
Meanwhile, officials said an update would be issued on Friday.
Wheatley is located just north of Point Pelee National Park and approximately 35 minutes southwest of Chatham.
Some of the FB comments:
Well this just happened……. A lingering underground gas leak, that was deemed by the municipality as “everything is ok”…… just BLEW UP the downtown intersection of our hometown, WHEATLEY !!!
Refer also to:
Sour Gas damages the brain, even at very low levels (after I posted these, the authorities removed the documents from public access, that’s how “highly highly” our harm-enabling regulators regulate in our Wild Wild Oil ‘n Gas Patch Leaking West):
Sour Gas Concentration (ppm)/Symptoms/Effects
0.01-1.5 ppm/Odor threshold (when rotten egg smell is first noticeable to some). …
2-5 ppm/Prolonged exposure may cause nausea, tearing of the eyes, headaches or loss of sleep. Airway problems (bronchial constriction) in some asthma patients.
2021: Frac’d to Hell NEBC, Rose Prairie: Explosive gas levels in *water* well kill $1.3 Million “potable” water station day before it was to open to the public. Taking bets: Will nature be blamed or frac’ers?
2021: “Highly highly regulated” in the West? Canada underestimated methane emissions from abandoned wells by as much as 150 per cent; Texas and Alberta have highest percentage of wells but no prior pollution measurement. Of course not, Alberta is Hell where regulators help Encana/Ovintiv illegally frac community drinking water aquifers. Kassie Siegel, director Climate Law Institute: “Big Oil is getting rich. For individual, ordinary people, it’s all risk and no reward.”
2021: Thank you Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, for standing strongly against the public paying to clean up oil and gas industry’s world-wide polluting life-threatening leaking abandoned dirty laundry: “It’s the industry that drilled the well. It’s the industry that made money from the well. It’s the industry that was supposed to follow regulations for proper design, proper construction, proper maintenance and ownership of that well forever — and now they are saying let the taxpayers pay for it? No. No. The money has to come from the shareholders. The money has to come from the coffers of the oil and gas industry. They made the mess. They clean it up”
2021: Pennsylvania regulator DEP fines Range Resources $300K for submitting inaccurate information and not plugging idle wells, meanwhile Canadian regulators, especially AER, help profit-raping companies deceive the public (for decades) and dump well plugging and clean up on taxpayers.
2020: California: Suspected methane leak destroys home in explosion, injures two people inside, seriously damages house next door; Gas levels too high to safely investigate, source unknown: “The methane could be from abandoned oil wells under the home or nearby oil fields”
2020: The biggest con ever? Millions of abandoned wells enabled by politicians, regulators & courts. Oil, gas ‘n frac industry rapes, profits ‘n runs, hangs the public with clean up, a climate menace & endless health harms & cruelty
2020: “Highly highly regulated” in the West? Why no criminal charges against the long list of law violating oil and gas companies in Alberta? Allenco Energy hit with criminal charges for failing to properly abandon wells in LA, “knowing that we still have to fight for the basic right to breathe clean air is really upsetting”
2019: Coushatta Louisiana: Just another frac’ing disaster they can’t stop. Explosion after frac’ing, all gas wells on pad still burning a week later, still rattling homes, noise getting louder. Regulator says “no air quality concerns” just like “No Duty of Care” Charter-violating AER says during blow outs in Alberta, even those spewing deadly sour gas
2019: “Highly highly regulated” in the West? And the scam goes on and on and on, decade after decade, across Canada: B.C. energy regulator faces possible $90-million tab for orphan wells (it’s going to cost much more than that)
2019: Canada’s widespread denial of access to “justice.” Ontario judge awards plaintiff more than 10 times her net damage award in costs, plaintiff still loses financially! Just like when Justice Neil C Wittmann awarded 3 times costs to Ernst, but she hugely lost financially because Alberta’s anti-justice system gave govt *3* chances to try to throw out her lawsuit (the third granted by J Wittmann)
2019: The Silent Killer Strikes Again: Texas oilfield worker killed after exposure to H₂S (sour) gas at Aghorn Energy site in Odessa, Wife (mother of 3) dies checking on him, Two children exposed but survived. Lawsuit filed.
2019: “Highly highly regulated” in the West? Please show me where. Frac Hit at Fox Creek? 460,000 litres fluids & contaminated water spews forth from abandoned Sprocket Energy Corp sour gas well 6 km SW of Fox Creek, Nothing reported in the media!
2019: Study not needed of the 100s of billions of dollars in oilfield liabilities. Complete overhaul of petroleum ownership and its structure is needed, and to send AER, Synergy groups, CAPP, CSUR etc packing!
Shortly after Will Koop posted his clip, Encana removed its Grand Prairie Emergency Response Plan (ERP) from the Internet. It’s vital that such important documents relating to public health and safety are accesible, so it has been uploaded here (takes time to load).
2018: “Highly highly regulated” in the West? Bow Island, Alberta: “Water” well beside Chantel Timmons’ home leaking white foam & dangerous levels natural gas. Is it an abandoned shallow gas well or historic stratigraphic test well? Charter violating, No Public Interest or Public Health mandate, “No Duty of Care” AER shirking its duties, yet again
2018: Quebec: 700 abandoned energy wells remain unattended to. Canada’s *multi-billion dollar* abandoned oil & gas well problem exponentially increasing. Where are the authorities? AER execs busy eating two-steak lunches, Judges knowingly publishing lies in rulings
2017: “Highly highly regulated” in the West? To Honour the Fallen on Remembrance Day: Make public AER’s secret “D79 Abandoned Well Methane Toxicity Preliminary Assessment” & Appendix 2 by Alberta Health, Admitting “Acute-Life threatening” risks & “Neurological effects”
More photos at link
Carefully note the dotted red line.
MANY DAMNING HISTORIC REPORTS IN THIS POST:
2017: Ontario: In Norfolk, leaking abandoned industry *sour* gas wells forces exclusion zone for vehicles, vessels, and evacuation of 22 homes. In nearby Town of Jarvis (population 2,300), unusually high methane readings, firefighters test gas levels at every home. Compare to grossly negligent, “No Duty of Care,” Charter-violating, lying, spying, heinous AER covering-up industry’s deadly gas leaks.
2017: Investigation finds Anadarko guilty, not Nature in Firestone Colorado home explosion: Investigators say industry’s gas migrated into home from abandoned flow line attached to energy well, killed two, injured two. How many homes globally have industry’s methane migrating into them, putting lives at risk with regulators everywhere looking the other way?
2017: Is Anadarko leaking explosive methane into homes in Colorado? Company to shut down 3,000 oil wells after fatal home explosion April 17, 2017 in Firestone, Weld County that killed two, injured two.
2017: “Highly highly regulated” in the West? BNN Interviews Alberta Oil Patch Consultant Brent Nimeck on AER’s Orphan Wells: “This problem is 30 years in the making. … I would call it a Ponzi Scheme…. This is an orchestrated fraud from multiple angles: Industry, CAPP and the Alberta Energy Regulator have enabled this to happen. … Through our independent analysis and we’ve confirmed this at multiple sources within the energy regulator, the liabilities are over $300 billion. That’s what’s on the hook for Alberta taxpayers right now – $300 billion.”
2017: New University of Guelph study on methane migration in sand aquifer in Ontario: “Potentially explosive methane gas leaking from energy wells may travel extensively through groundwater and pose a safety risk” Industry’s leaking or soured gas will do the same.
2016: “Highly highly regulated” in the West? “Prosperous” Greedy Alberta: Bankrupt energy firms add to abandoned well problems, Nearly 150,000 oil wells are inactive or abandoned
2016: Just more AER hot air or a slick devious plan? Alberta looks at different ways of making sure companies clean up old wells (Who is to fix the aquifers Encana frac’d?), AER warns it could go after directors & executives to ensure proper reclamation Regulator warnings are like gov’t commitments, nothing comes from them but a few stinky farts here and there when it comes to the fossil fuel industry. “Looking at” are just more deflective words. Looking at does not mean doing anything responsible to protect the Alberta public, or landowners harmed endlessly by oil and gas and it’s pimp, the Charter-violating AER.
IMPORTANT, INCREDIBLY DAMNING GALLING POST:
2015: Legal matters: Fracking the golf course. Ask Indian Hills Golf Course, Lambton Shores, Ontario: Did nature, waste injection, gas storage or fracking causing massive natural gas geysers and erupting greens in 2015? Two municipalities declared state of emergency, Golf Course had to shut down, pay to investigate and clean up
… There are no natural gas pipelines in the area, Union Gas confirmed, and the only other man-made source of methane gas—a sewage treatment plant—has been ruled out by an Ontario Ministry of Environment review.
[Fraudulent Investigation Check:
Why would the Ministry’s “review” exclude the many oil and gas wells and facilities in the area, especially the “known” abandoned energy well? And why not seek the many wells the ministry knows it has no records for? How many communities must endure blowing up? How many fatalities ahead?
Another frac cover-up?
Refer to the map below of the many known industry wells near the Indian Hills methane geysers:
Click to view Legend. The pink shows an abandoned energy well near the geysers, the blue is an active industry gas well that might have been frac’d or refrac’d (in Alberta, companies refrac frac’d wells over and over and over; frac hits can cause gas erruptions/geyers/frac outs “several miles away”)
End Fraudulent Investigation Check]
As such, the best guess is the gas leak is naturally occurring.
[Oil Patch Fraudulent Cover-up Science Check:
“If [natural gas] is present, the presumption is that it’s naturally occurring….”
And leave out the most likely cause of the problem and guess or presume nature did it.
Where are the isotopic fingerprints of the gases?
What gases are causing this eruption? Methane, ethane, propane, butane, pentane?
Has industry soured formations in the Indian Hills Golf Course area, as it’s done elsewhere in Ontario, and is doing globally?
End Oil Patch Fraudulent Cover-up Science Check … the corruption goes on and on and on …]
Shales in Ontario:
Pink arrow is approximate location of the Indian Hills sour gas erruptions
2015: After 3,600 frac’d/stimulated wells in Ontario: Private member’s bill to ban high volume fracing passes second reading Of course, the bill went nowhere.
2015: “Highly highly regulated” in the West? Alberta faces growing backlog of abandoned oil and gas wells, Millions [or billions?] needed to clean up sites and mitigate environmental risk
2015: Ontario Minister Natural Resources/Forestry Bill Mauro says “there are currently no applications before the Ministry requesting approval to…use high-volume hydraulic fracturing” but the Ministry hasn’t defined “high volume” so how would he know?
2015: ‘Highly highly regulated” in the West? Sour gas from oil wells a deadly problem in southeast Saskatchewan, Human and animal deaths linked to hydrogen sulphide emissions
Six calves were found dead on a farm near Manor, Sask., in early 2013, which a vet linked to [sour] gas poisoning. (Lester and Cecilia Englot)
Michael Bunz, 38, was found dead after being exposed to H2S while at his oil industry job in southeast Saskatchewan on May 22, 2013. He left behind two young daughters. (Facebook)
2014: “Highly highly regulated” in the west? Trouble Beneath Our Feet: Leaking Energy Wells a Burning Issue; Big problem, Expensive to Fix, Impossible to Completely Stop
2014: “Highly highly regulated” – really? Alberta oil companies walk from their responsibilities; Thousands of wells sit orphaned on people’s land with trees growing out of pump jacks and no reclamation in sight
2014: “Highly highly regulated” in the West? Ya, sure: Two-tiered Alberta: Urban, but not rural, home owners and businesses get inspections and protections from leaking abandoned energy wells and stratigraphic test holes: St. Albert residents sitting on abandoned oil and gas wells
2014: Data Woefully Lacking in Canada, Reports Council of Canadian Academies, So also reported the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment 12 years ago Ignored by the Council of Canadian Academies frac panel (led by Dr. John Cherry, author of the 2002 warning).
2014: Ohio Energy Regulator Blaming Nature on First Day of Fatal Home Explosion Investigation, “these pockets are naturally occurring and not the result of human interaction, such as hydraulic fracturing or other gas wells”
Gas-leaking energy wells, as of 2014. How many more since?
Data compiled by Dr. Karlis Muehlenbachs and Dr. Barb Tilley, U of A
“Highly highly regulated” in the West? Pffffft.
In a single recent five-year span there were 73 documented sour gas leaks in B.C. and 34 workers died as a result of sour gas exposure since 1983. …
2012: Ottawa sued over Quebec fracking ban, Ontario Smacked by U.S. NAFTA Lawsuit on Fracking You can thank Brian Mulroney & Elizabeth May.
2012: Ontario won’t allow fracking for gas without evidence it’s safe: McGuinty Was he lying? Companies have been frac’ing and drilling horizontal wells in Ontario for years.
Corrosive sour gas is more hazardous.
2012: $250,000 in community safety projects following Encana’s deadly sour gas leak (to buy the company’s way out? How much is your life worth or that of your loved ones?)
… The release of methane and chemicals like radium into the air and water have been found in Pennsylvania, New York and Michigan where fracking is underway, Black noted.
“It will damage our environment,” said Nicholls, a member of Sarnia Hometown Activist Movement Emerging (SHAME) which has targeted the area’s petrochemical industry.
The group and Black’s Climate Justice has established the “Stop Fracking Ontario” website in its efforts to prevent the practice before it starts.
Black said there have been reports of tap water set on fire when fracking occurred nearby.
“Numerous carcinogenic, endocrine-disrupting, flammable and otherwise poisonous chemicals are used to draw out the natural gas that lies deep underground in shale rock,” he said in a press release. Black added radium that is freed can seep into nearby water bodies.
Similar rallies and protests are being planned in Chatham-Kent and London.
At Ontario’s ministry of natural resources which governs such natural gas and oil work, spokesperson Jolanta Kowalski said there is no shale gas extraction in Ontario. More gov’t lies to enable frac’ing polluters? Keep residents ignorant until they blow up, then settle and gag them via greed and protect the satus quo class action lawsuits? “At this time there is no indication that Ontario even has economic reserves of shale gas,” she said. “There are no applications for drilling of new exploration shale gas wells.”
The Sarnia-Lambton Shale Gas Conference at the Holiday Inn Sarnia is bringing together major players in the oil and gas industry including Imperial Oil, BP, Union Gas and Nova Chemicals.
The gathering, arranged by the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership, is aimed at “looking to capitalize on this game-changing development,” says its press release. Among the firms looking at unlocking shale gas is Mooncorp Oil and Gas, based in Calgary. It has acquired many acres of gas leases in recent years and Mooncor officials have expressed optimism about the potential of shale gas in the region.
2011: “Highly highly regulated” in the West? Calmar residents know the drill as company works to cap abandoned well See also 2015
2011: Imperial Oil leaking natural gas wells a nightmare for homeowners near Edmonton See also 2015
2010: Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach demands answers to why Calmar homes put in danger and built over abandoned gas well See also 2015. Answers never came.
Encana contractors give the finger. This is what Encana thinks of you, your loved ones, home, health, livestock and pets, safety from risks to us from deadly sour gas:
2009: Fueling Fears by CTV W-5, Canada
2007: Presentation by Alberta’s energy (de)regulator:
2006: My water after Encana/Ovintiv illegally frac’d my community’s drinking water aquifers:
Photo by Colin Smith
AER did not regulate Encana, Alberta’s “regulator” (along with its cowardly cousin Alberta Environment), only regulated the harmed, shaming, bullying and blaming us, including violating my Charter rights trying to terrify me silent.
2005: Ronalie and Shawn Campbell, ranchers by Ponoka Alberta, get their water thermogenic sour gas contaminated after frac’ing by Encana and other companies. AER, the “regulator,” only serves the frac’ers, stresses and drags the family out for years, investigation after investigation, only to blame them, bacteria and nature, and slam the “highly highly regulated” door shut 8 years later:
Yes, that black stuff being tested is the ranchers’ well water.
2005: Dale and Brenda Zimmerman, Alberta farmers, get their water gas contaminated after nearby frac’ing by MGV, later name changed to Quicksilver, with nothing but bullying, shaming and horrific nastiness by the regulator, leaving the farm and family in risk of explosion:
2002: “Highly highly regulated?”
2002: Groundwater Quality Workshop: Regulators and Canadian Ministers of the Environment attended, warning of serious harms ahead from 600,000 abandoned oil and gas wells, including in the “highly highly regulated” west. Did any appropriate responsible action take place afterwards? No. Only deregulation to benefit the polluters and legalize the harms, lies to con Canadians into accepting them, and Dr. John Cherry (author of a major chapter in the report) later ignoring his own 2002 warnings in his 2014 frac panel report for the Council of Canadian Academies.
2001: Hutchison, Kansas, Industry’s leaking gas migrated 7 miles, killing two people in the second explosion:
1995 – 1996: Study on industry’s leaks, by industry:
1988: “Highly highly regulated” in the West? Nakoda Nation, Alberta: Engineer reported hundreds of drinking water wells contaminated with sour gas on Stoney Reserve west of Calgary. H2S is deadly, damages the brain even at low levels. AER blamed nature and if not nature, then bacteria. Same blame game polka after frac’ing contaminated drinking water wells with gas at Ponoka, Wetaskiwin, Spirit River, Rockyford, Rosebud, Redland, etc.
Gas leaking from an abandoned well exploded in a Los Angeles department store, injuring two dozen people. Task forces blamed everything but industry.
Slides from Ernst presentations. (Ghillingar is also spelled Chilingar or Chilingarian)
1982: Alberta: Sour gas and sickness; Smelly smelly run-around. Regulators/Health authorities, then and now, lie to the harmed, coddle the polluters. Alberta’s Pollution Solution: Discredit the poisoned; call them crazy.
Many more posts on explosions, including fatal, caused by the oil and gas industry’s leaking gases on this site, and elsewhere. They go on and on and on and on.
Cartoon above in Calgary Herald, June 24, 2005