State of emergency declared in Wheatley, Ont., after hydrogen sulphide leak

Officials stationed in the core of Wheatley in June following detection of hydrogen sulphide. Municipality of Chatham-Kent

A state of emergency remained in place Thursday afternoon in Wheatley, Ont., in connection with a significant gas leak that has forced the evacuation of more than two dozen residents, officials with the Municipality of Chatham-Kent said.

Mayor Darrin Canniff declared the state of emergency Thursday morning as a result of the leak, which was discovered around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday near 16 Erie St. N in the small community, located on the edge of the Chatham-Kent—Essex border near Lake Erie.

Officials with the municipality said the presence of naturally occurring hydrogen sulphide gas had been detected, noting that it was not related to any gas service provided by Enbridge.

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.

The more than day-old gas leak has resulted in a perimeter being established around the area, and the evacuation of at least 27 nearby residents. Hydro service has also been shut off to 20 customers in the area, including 13 homes, they said.

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The precise source of the leak remains under investigation.

In a statement late Thursday, Don Shropshire, Chatham-Kent’s chief administrative officer, said an expert had been contacted to attend the scene to determine where the leak is coming from and to recommend remediation.

Although the gas is consistent with a leak coming from a well, that has not been determined yet, said Chris Case, Chatham-Kent’s fire chief, in a statement.

Members of Chatham-Kent police, fire and EMS attended the scene, along with officials from Enbridge and a hazmat team from Windsor, the municipality said.

The Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks had also been called to the scene and the Ministry of Natural Resources had been informed of the incident, they said.

Members of the public are being asked to avoid the area.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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