Toronto Propane Blast Leaves Thousands Temporarily Homeless

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The blast, in the early morning hours on Sunday, prompted the evacuation of over 10,000 people – first to an evacuation centre set up at Downsview, then switched to the better equipped York University’s Tait Mackenzie Centre. Most people found shelter with friends or family but hundreds were forced to stay at the evacuation site until the City of Toronto issued the all clear Sunday night. At this point in time (Monday 1:30PM Eastern) at least fifty people have been told they can not return to their homes.

The Executive Director of Project417 – Ekklesia Inner City Ministries, Rev. Joe Elkerton, was called to the Downsview evacuation site early Sunday morning by Jeff Noel, of the Salvation Army’s Disaster Response & Recovery team. The quick response team is an integral part of the GTA’s Disaster Response Plan providing snacks, meals, water and beverages to firefighters, other emergency responders as well as to residents affected by or evacuated for disasters. Joe and the rest of the volunteer team stayed on site all day operating the mobile cafeterias serving hundreds of hot coffees, cold drinks and meals. Joe was joined by Project417 team members Jenn Ford and Chris Clarke Monday and Tuesday. Volunteers play a vital role in responding to all Toronto area major disasters and fires.

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