Fort McMurray woman adoption process prolonged as home explodes

May 20th, 2016 | By admin | Category: Natural Gas Explosions

NatGas Consulting

On Tuesday, fire officials said operators were in the process of restoring gas to the city’s neighbourhoods

By: Jeremy Simes For Metro Published on Fri May 20 2016

Kaitlin hopes she’ll still be able to adopt a child after her home was among 10 destroyed by an explosion in Fort McMurray Monday night.

Officials have been assessing Fort McMurray and the government plans to have residents return on June 1, after wildfires destroyed about 10 per cent of the city on May 4.

On Tuesday, fire officials said operators were in the process of restoring gas in the city.

During that time a home in the city blew up, damaging nine other residences, but ATCO gas employees were not working in the area of Kaitlin’s home at the time, they said.

Kaitlin, who fled Fort McMurray for refuge with her parents on Vancouver Island, has been trying to adopt a child for three-and-a-half years. She didn’t provide her last name.

Her home, she said, provided that “package” to assure social workers she had a suitable environment for the child. Now that it’s gone, the adoption process will be a bit longer.

“I think I would be a really cool mom,” she said. “It’s frustrating.”

Kaitlin said she was told a home nearby had a gas leak, so when crews turned on the lines, the home exploded causing significant damage to others.

ATCO has since confirmed that they had serviced the area, but were finished in the area of Kaitlin’s home May 14.

Both ATCO and government officials said an investigation is ongoing to determine the cause of the explosion and wouldn’t speculate if there was a gas leak.

Crews have restored 60 per cent of essential infrastructure without an issue, said Scott Long, executive director of Alberta Emergency Management Agency, on Tuesday.

Kaitlin said she thought officials were joking when they told her that her home was destroyed.

“I was like, ‘No my house is fine — the fire didn’t touch it,’” she said. “When I found out, I was devastated because I knew what that meant for me and my adoption.”

She said the family plans to adopt a child from South Africa, but hasn’t yet submitted the paperwork.

Kaitlin said the paperwork doesn’t say the home is destroyed, therefore not reflecting the family current situation. For all adoptions, documentation must reflect the couple’s current living situation for it to go through.

“Yes I lost all my photos, memorabilia and things that meant something to me, but really those are just things. Really it’s just the fact we’ve been trying to adopt a baby for years and this just puts a roadblock into things.”

But it’s not over for the family, according to Laura Swift, a social worker with adoption agency Adoption by Choice.

She said the family will have to submit an addendum to the government, which will then review the family’s new circumstances and make a decision.

“It’ll prolong it, but it’s not over,” she said.

But Kaitlin is still worried with the length of time it’ll now take.

“I’m just worried it’s going to take so much longer than it needs to,” she said. “We’re going to be stuck for a while.”

Meanwhile, ATCO has since shut off all gas at the meter to homes and businesses in Fort McMurray as a precaution.

The most up-to-date information on ATCO’s progress in Fort McMurray can be found at atcoresponds.com

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