“We’ve all been devastated by this tragedy,” said Crombie on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning today.
The explosion at about 4:20 p.m. ET Tuesday levelled one home and damaged at least two dozen others on Hickory Drive, a residential area near Dixie Road and Rathburn Road East about 30 kilometres west of downtown Toronto.
The identity of the woman killed has not been released. Nine people suffered minor injuries, none were taken to hospital
One house was destroyed and neighbouring homes show heavy damage, with debris spread over a wide area.
Fire officials said the outside perimeter of the explosion encompasses 700 addresses, and anyone outside
that area will not be allowed inside until the all-clear is given. The perimeter stretches from Rathburn Road to the south, Golden Orchard Drive to the west, Eastgate Parkway to the north and Dixie Road to the east.
It’s expected the cordoned-off area will be reduced in size Wednesday. Emergency officials are expected to provide an update at a news conference scheduled for 8 a.m. ET that CBC.ca will stream live.
On Tuesday night, residents displaced by the explosion gathered at the Burnhamthorpe Community Centre where emergency personnel provided evacuees with food and medication. Five people affected by the explosion were staying in hotels, while the rest were with friends or family members.
Neighbour Kim Gomes was forced to flee her house with her children moments after the blast.
“Nobody knew what happened, everyone was just terrified and shaking…. I’m still shaking,” she said. “We just ran … we thought there was going to be another explosion.”
Mississauga fire Chief Tim Beckett said Tuesday that 15 homes had been evacuated, with gas and water shut off to a total of 58 homes. Later on, Const. Paolo Carretta of the Peel Regional Police said the number of actual evacuated homes could be as high as 30.
Crombie said she’s been impressed by home members of the community “pulled together so quickly” in the hours after the explosion.
“People were helping each other, neighbours welcoming each other into their homes,” she said.