Windsor law firm to file class action suit for those affected by Wheatley explosion

An explosion in downtown Wheatley on August 26, 2021 brings a building down to rubble (Screengrab via Chatham-Kent Fire Twitter)

A law firm based out of Windsor has announced its intention to file a lawsuit against the Municipality of Chatham-Kent following an explosion in Wheatley last month.

On Friday, Strosberg Sasso Sutts LLP announced a plan to pursue a case on behalf of anyone affected by a natural gas explosion that destroyed several buildings in downtown Wheatley on August 26, 2021.

“In the proposed action, we will seek compensation for damages that were suffered as a result of the explosion, including general damages, lost use of office or residential space, lost income, expenses incurred for alternate accommodation, office space, replacement or cleaning of damaged items, physical and emotional injury, damage to property, relocation and other expenses,” read a statement on the law firm’s website.

Before the explosion, emergency crews were called to the area of Erie Street and Talbot Street East at around 4:30 p.m., when a hydrogen sulphide leak was detected. Less than two hours later, the explosion erupted. The effects were felt throughout most of the town and several people were taken to hospital with serious injuries. As of last Wednesday, just one person remained in hospital.

“If you were affected by the explosion in Wheatley, it is very important for you to keep track of all of your out of pocket expenses that you incur,” the law firm added. “Please keep all receipts in a secure location because they will be required later.”

The law firm has proposed that anyone who was present, owned property, or worked in the area when the blast occurred to call the firm at 519-561-6296 or complete an online questionnaire.

To date, over 100 households have received support in response to the destruction from the explosion. More than 20 people were treated with injuries related to the incident. Police have stated 13 families are currently being housed as local groups show support with donations.

Investigators with the province’s Ministry of Natural Resources arrived in Wheatley last Tuesday to assist with finding the source of the gas leak.

Ahead of the class action, the municipality is scheduled to host a virtual meeting on Saturday morning for residents to gather information and have their questions answered.

– With files from Millar Hill and Ruby Sweeney