The Aftermath

The quiet of a Monday afternoon in mid-April was broken by the sound of sirens. That’s not unusual where I live.  With a fire station and a hospital both within close proximity, sirens are actually a regular occurrence.

What was unusual was that the sirens didn’t stop.  Emergency vehicles could be heard one after another, after another … like a train going by.  It was obvious that something very serious had happened.

My curiosity was satisfied not much later when the first reports on Twitter started to pop up … there had been a house explosion about 4 kilometers north of my home.

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The next morning, with road closures still in effect around the site, I ventured out on foot to see what was happening.  Although I could get nowhere near the house, it was interesting to watch the flurry of activity from all the local news outlets, Fire Marshall’s Office and police.

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A man died in that explosion.  I had heard that several propane tanks were found in the garage and believed to be the source of the blast … although I don’t know whether that information was accurate.

I’d completely forgotten about this incident … until today.  I had been out running errands and drove by where the explosion had occurred.  I was stunned at what I saw.

It’s been 3 months since that afternoon and not surprisingly, the house was completely gone.  I wasn’t prepared however to see how much damage had been done to the surrounding homes.  Damage that still hasn’t been repaired.

I assume that the house beside the explosion had been condemned as unsafe, because it too had been torn down.  Four other homes surrounding them were severely damaged and are boarded up … unoccupied.

house explosion 3

I was left with a very odd feeling.  Six families were significantly affected by this incident … the loss of a loved one, the loss of homes, the disruption of their lives.  I can only imagine how many more were affected in various degrees of property damage and emotional trauma.

The 2 vacant lots and 4 heavily damaged houses are like scars that haven’t healed yet.  They are a reminder of how quickly our lives can change without warning.

house explosion

About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in Around Toronto, Random Stuff and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to The Aftermath

  1. To have had this happen so close to you would have really been sobering. We are lucky to live somewhere where this is a rare occurance but still that is poor comfort for those poor families affected by this blast.

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  2. bikerchick57 says:

    Wow, that is too bad. I hope all of those families found new, happy homes.

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  3. beeblu says:

    A split second is all it takes.

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  4. Sue Slaght says:

    Joanne your post really brings home that point of living every day fully because in one second things can forever change. I am so sorry to hear about the loss of life and clearly from your images how many people have been affected .I hope they are receiving much support.

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  5. NancyTex says:

    Very sad. I hope it wasn’t something as silly/irresponsible as incorrect storage or use of propane in the house. I remember during the icestorms and power outages two Christmases ago when they were reporting on people using propane BBQs and heaters INSIDE to keep themselves warm… 😦

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  6. Incredibly sad. I can’t imagine the heartbreak… no, I think I can. I hope the people that lost their homes, a life… I just hope they are finding some comfort. A place where they can feel safe and are with hope.

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    • joannesisco says:

      I guess that’s one of the most stark impressions for me is when your home comes ‘under attack’. We think of our homes as our sanctuary and losing that is very frightening for me.

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  7. I feel so sad for those are suffering as a result of this tragedy. Your post tells the story in such a respectful way and it does make me appreciate the fragility of life and reminds me to treasure it even more.

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    • joannesisco says:

      This was a huge reminder to me that our cozy little world can be upset very quickly. It is such a cliché, but It is also so very true …. it is important to be grateful and appreciative.

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  8. bkpyett says:

    You have covered the trauma well with your photos Joanne. How scary for everyone. It must affect the whole community. May peace be regained!

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    • joannesisco says:

      Thanks Barbara. We hear stories of tragedies in the news and then usually forget about it while the families affected suffer for a long time.
      This was a strong reminder to me that nothing is guaranteed.

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  9. There was talk here recently as to whether the roadside memorials constructed on the sites of serious road accidents are a distraction to drivers and should be removed. I was not in favour of their removal as I think they serve as a salient reminder that one moment’s lapse in concentration or one stupid decision can change not only one life but many lives in an instant. Sometimes we do need these in-your-face reminders to appreciate every day we are given and not to “sweat the small stuff”.

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    • joannesisco says:

      The roadside memorials are a complicated issue. Personally, they make me very uncomfortable, like a punch to the chest … but I appreciate that people need to grieve in different ways.
      There is no question that a split second can be life-changing and the thought of those *freak accidents* scare me more than anything.

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  10. Corina says:

    Things change in the blink of an eye, in an instant, in a heart beat. Just like that, it’s all gone.

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  11. de Wets Wild says:

    There’s a very important lesson or two in here for all of us, isn’t it Joanne? To appreciate what and who we have, every moment, for it could be taken away in a second.

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  12. Sammy D. says:

    This was haunting, Joanne. How quickly our lives can change from nothing but wrong place, wrong time. I try not to think about the dangers that could be hidden behind neighbors’ walls, especially things like propane and methamphetamine labs. And whenever I hear sirens I think of the first responders who face unknown risks every time they answer a call.

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    • joannesisco says:

      Yes Sammy, I think about the first responders too. Every day in their jobs they have to deal with the worst that life has to throw at us.
      The *wrong place, wrong time* scenario terrifies me more than anything. I am not a religious person but I am reminded of the expression “but for the grace of God go I”.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Wow. What a wake-up call. It really does bring home how very much we have to be grateful for just every single moment we are here.

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    • joannesisco says:

      Wake-up call indeed! Suddenly I felt ashamed of all my petty little complaints … like all the weeds that are thriving in my yard. All those little seedlings growing out of the driveway – the only thing left of one house – was like a personal message to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. 😦 That’s heartbreaking. Your last photo was so striking. The new growth among the ruins. Life finds a way.

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  15. shoreacres says:

    Last Sunday, I was talking with some friends about the various chemical plants that surround us. We compared notes on explosions we’ve experienced, even at a distance, and agreed that driving past some of the complexes can be worrisome.

    Sure enough, I woke this morning to news that there had been problems at a plant I sometimes pass. No one was killed, but it does sharpen the senses, add an edge of anxiety to life, and increase that sense of gratefulness. Truly, we never know.

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  16. Very chilling, especially when you consider the broader impact of the event. It’s one of those “acts of God” that you can do nothing about in terms of preparation or prevention.

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  17. Uncle Spike says:

    A scary thought…

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  18. I also live near a fire station so we do hear a lot of sirens. We had an ambulance pull up at a house very near to ours a few days ago. I am not acquainted with the people who live there, as they just moved in, but it does get you thinking how quickly things can happen.

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  19. Oh, how terrible! It’s hard to imagine how many people are affected when something like this happens. I could only imagine what it’s like at Ground Zero, and what it was like for many years.

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    • joannesisco says:

      I agree Marissa. It’s good to have occasional reminders that I need to be grateful and appreciative of what I have in my life because tomorrow is not a guarantee.

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