The windows in the lower and upper floors of 59 Kimberly Avenue are blown out from the explosion directly in front of the home. (MyMuskokanow.com Doug Crosse Photo)
It was unintentional.
That is the word from officials at the site of a dynamite blast in Bracebridge.
There were no injuries from the explosion, which reverberated through the downtown area. Five homes on Kimberly Ave received heavy damage and there are reports of damaged homes on nearby Ontario street as well.
Kimberly Avenue South, which runs parallel to the busy Manitoba Street in downtown, has been under construction between Quebec and Ontario streets for approximately three months according to residents.
An official with the District of Muskoka confirmed to MyMuskokanow.com that the blast was unintentional, explaining the hole had not been prepared for the blast when there was a detonation of the dynamite.
Several eyewitnesses reported hearing a warning horn prior to the explosion. Warning horns are blasted to warn people in an area that a blast is about to occur.
Homeowner Patrick Boyer, who lives at 59 Kimberly Street South, directly in front of the explosion, told MyMuskokaNow.com that he had been worried about the blasting program for some time now. He says District of Muskoka officials, who are in charge of the project, had not communicated enough with residents about what is happening.
“It was an incomplete understanding of what needs to be done here and complete lack of understanding about where these pipes (that are being replaced) are even located,” said Boyer, a few doors down from his damaged home.
Boyer had voiced his feelings in an article with an online newspaper a few days ago.
Boyer was coming back from a meeting in Huntsville and his wife Elise was at her store Veranda on Manitoba Street when the explosion happened.
Five houses, including Boyer’s, received extensive damage when the blast took out windows, door frames and caused damage inside the homes.
Residents were told they would likely not be able to return to their homes Friday evening.
“The main windows on the main floor are all blasted out, the upstairs and the kitchen windows are all blasted out,” Boyer said. “Based on what my neighbours told me they have a lot of internal damage to their house.”
Fred Jahn, the Commissioner of Engineering and Public Works for the district concedes that Boyer’s complaint about communication carries some weight.
“We need to be doing a better job communicating with residents about these type of projects,” Jahn told MyMuskokanow.com. “We did have our people earlier this week going door to door to provide the latest information.
Boyer is worried about what he will find when he returns.
“This is a place filled with antiques and fine art and there are paintings in there that have no doubt been hit with flying glass,” said Boyer.
Investigators from the Fire Marshall’s office had arrived on site around 4:45 p.m.
An upset Boyer said, “there is going to be legal action as a result of this.”