Cape Breton Woman Dies After Snow-Damaged Propane Line Causes Explosion

SYDNEY, Nova Scotia – A tragedy struck a seniors’ residence in Sydney, Nova Scotia, last week when a propane explosion caused by sliding snow led to the death of a 73-year-old woman. Glenda Orychock, the victim, succumbed to her injuries in a Halifax hospital on Sunday, according to her son, Craig Orychock.

The incident occurred at the Silver Birch Manor seniors residence on Reeves Street in Sydney, N.S., shortly after snow from the roof fell onto propane tank lines outside the residence, triggering a gas leak and subsequently an explosion. The explosion left Glenda Orychock with severe burns, ultimately resulting in her passing.

The tragic event took place just days after a historic snowstorm dumped over 150 centimeters of snow in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. Orychock emphasized that the incident was a “terrible accident,” expressing gratitude that there was only one fatality despite many people living in the residence.

A spokeswoman for the Nova Scotia Provincial Housing Agency, responsible for managing the residence, confirmed that 59 individuals were evacuated from the building following the explosion. Meanwhile, the provincial fire marshal, Doug MacKenzie, stated that the volume of snow involved in the incident was unprecedented, causing an unusual amount of snow to slide off due to solar panels acting as a metal roof.

The acting fire chief of the city, Chris March, reported that the explosion was one of four incidents involving snow striking propane lines in the past week. Additionally, authorities are anticipating another snowstorm on Tuesday evening, with 20 to 25 centimeters of snow forecasted.

Orychock mentioned that he is refraining from assigning blame until the investigation into the incident is concluded. His hope, he stated, is for the investigation’s findings to rectify any issues and prevent similar accidents in the future.