Skip to content

Massive fire, explosion rocks Midland plaza (8 photos)

Officials suspect a gas leak may have caused the blaze that destroyed a local business, damaged another

Garth Noye feels lucky to be alive after a major fire and massive explosion rocked a Midland commercial area Wednesday morning.

Noye, who works at Speedy Auto Glass, was one of the dozens of onlookers, who watched as fire crews from Midland and Penetanguishene worked to extinguish the blaze that destroyed Speedy Auto Glass and caused significant damage to the neighbouring Victory Lube location on Hamelin Lane.

“I opened the shop at 8 this morning and then at about 8:10, I saw a flash of fire and then it blew up,” Noye said. “I had a split second to get out of there.”

No one died as a result of the fire and subsequent explosion, but one person was injured, according to Southern Georgian Bay OPP Insp. Joseph Evans.

“We got everybody out,” Evans said, noting the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office is now investigating the blaze to try to determine what sparked it.

“It is a crime scene until they’re done,” Evans said, noting crime-scene tape will be put up to cordon off the area.

Evans said they suspect it may have started from a gas leak and that the explosions were caused by propane tanks exploding in the small commercial plaza that's home to three vehicle repair shops.

“Enbridge is on the scene,” he said, pointing out officers from his detachment worked quickly to secure the scene while also closing nearby roads and diverting traffic.

Noye said he’s counting his blessings he managed to escape in time.

“I lived to tell you about it so that’s all that matters to me," he said.

Noye said a Victory Lube employee wasn’t as lucky and may have suffered a leg injury.

OPP later confirmed a person had been transported by Simcoe County Paramedic Services to Georgian Bay General Hospital for treatment.

There’s also a Midas outlet in the area that's just off the corner of Yonge Street and County Road 93.

Penetanguishene’s Heather Darke watched the fire from across the highway, having just helped her son Tyler drop off his vehicle for a winter tire changeover.

“I kept getting all these texts at 8:20 about the explosion,” Darke said. “ My son’s freaking out because his car is there.”

But like Noye, Darke said she feels fortunate to have just missed the ensuing blaze since after only leaving Midas shortly after 8 a.m.

“Needless to say, he won’t be getting snow tires on today,” she added.

Tyler Turner also counts himself lucky. The Speedy Glass installer was late for work Wednesday morning.

“I was lucky I was late today,” he said.

Andrew Philips

About the Author: Andrew Philips

Editor Andrew Philips is a multiple award-winning journalist whose writing has appeared in some of the country’s most respected news outlets. Originally from Midland, Philips returned to the area from Québec City a decade ago.
Read more