A gas explosion on the square in Canton Wednesday killed one person and injured 11. The blast occurred shortly before 6 P.M. behind the Opera House, but damaged numerous businesses within several blocks of the site. Ameren Illinois spokesman Tucker Kennedy says a company apprentice was fatally injured and three other employees were hurt in the explosion.
"A gas crew from Ameren Illinois responded to reports that a third party contractor had compromised one of our gas lines at 45 Eastside Square in Canton. Our crew arrived and squeezed off the gas and was in the process of making repairs when the explosion occurred."
Eight other individuals were injured. One was lifeflighted to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria and two were treated at Graham Hospital in Canton. Emily Werry was working at Milano’s Pizza a block away when the business’s front window blew out. She found widespread damage as she went outside.
"All the windows in all the streets broken, dust everywhere, everybody running toward the square."
Police blocked off the square and all streets within a two-block radius of the explosion.
A news conference is scheduled for Wednesday morning.
- Fulton County ESDA reports that the Child Development Center at the YWCA Canton, at 111 N Ave A will be closed Thursday to allow for a structural survey and cleanup of glass and debris. The YWeRun Program is still scheduled to occur, however, as usual, from 3:15 to 5:15 at Wallace Park.
- The Canton Square/downtown area remains closed. For information on when building owners will be able to access property , please monitor the Fulton County ESDA Facebook page, or the Canton Police Department Facebook page.
- Canton residents affected by the gas explosion can reach the Red Kettle Salvation Army Hotline at 309-232-8774 for assistance.