Ontario government offers $2 million to help Wheatley recover from massive explosion

The scene of the explosion in Wheatley, Ont., Aug. 26, 2021. Courtesy: Municipality of Chatham-Kent via Twitter

WHEATLEY, Ont. — A town in southwestern Ontario rocked by a massive explosion last month will be receiving up to $2 million from the provincial government to help with recovery efforts.

The province says the funds will help businesses affected by the blast in Wheatley, Ont., resume operations.

It also says money will be used to help cover the cost of “goods and services” for affected families.

Read more: Ongoing gas leak, explosive risk hindering work at site of Wheatley blast which injured 20

The Aug. 26 explosion, suspected to be caused by a recurring gas leak, levelled a building in downtown Wheatley and left 20 people requiring medical attention.

Word of the provincial funding comes days after Premier Doug Ford and Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford visited the town to assess the situation and express support.

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Ford issued a statement praising the community for its resilience in the face of the blast.

“The people of Wheatley have shown tremendous strength in the aftermath of the devastating gas leak explosion last month,” the statement reads. “They have pulled together and shown incredible resolve as the community works to rebuild what was lost. As this funding shows, we stand ready and willing to help the town of Wheatley and they can continue to count on our government’s support.”

Read more: 3 people injured and 2 buildings heavily damaged in Wheatley, Ont., after explosion

Exact funding allocation details are still being determined, the province said.

The explosion at a privately owned building 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.

In July, local officials declared a second state of emergency after confirming hydrogen sulphide was once again present in the building that was levelled in the August explosion.

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