© Jeff Harper/Metro
By Andrew Rankin
Laverne and her husband Michael McGuigan would prefer to forget about their Tuesday ordeal.
A couple of weeks ago, the senior couple just moved into the Point Pleasant Lodge – a special care complex on South Park Street – after Michael, 64, received a kidney transplant.
They admit they were more than a little rattled to be among the more than 300 people who were evacuated from their homes in the south end of the city after a backhoe caused a major leak on one of Heritage Gas’s natural gas lines on South Park and Fenwick streets.
“It’s very concerning,” she said. “It’s flammable gas and what’s preventing this from happening again? There could be an explosion next time.”
Laverne, 60, one of the luckier ones in her building with good mobility, said she was able to leave her apartment with little trouble with her husband, who before the evacuation was sleeping.
“It was a bit of an ordeal, that’s for sure, walking down four flights of stairs,” she said. “Other people had to walk down five or six or eight flights of stairs. Some of these people are sick.”
They and the rest of the evacuees waited more than four hours to return to their residences. Now she says she’s looking for some answers.
“I just want to be a reassured that this won’t happen again,” she said.
So far this year there’s been three major breaks on Heritage Gas’s network of natural gas lines.
Peter MacWilliam was one of about 200 Workers’ Compensation Board employees who were evacuated from their Fenwick Street and South Park Street offices.
Though frustrated he couldn’t get his car that he left behind inside the Fenwick Medical Centre for more than four hours, he said he’s thankful that no one was hurt.
In the end, MacWilliam, who’d worked at the location since 1988, was good-natured about the incident.
“It’s never happened before,” he said. “Accidents happen.”