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$23-million settlement proposed over Sunrise Propane explosion

A view of a Sunrise Propane facility the day after large explosions at the propane facility in Toronto, August 11, 2008.

MARK BLINCH/REUTERS

Comapnies involved in Toronto's Sunrise Propane blast will pay out more than $23-million if a proposed settlement in a class-action lawsuit is approved in court.

In 2008, a propane explosion in north Toronto killed a man and forced thousands from their homes, and a firefighter who responded to the emergency died of a heart attack.

The proposed settlement would give almost $8-million to individuals to cover expenses such as personal injuries, lost income and uninsured losses.

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The payments will be made by the insurers of corporate defendants named in the lawsuit, including Sunrise propane and its owners, according to Harvin Pitch of the firm Teplitsky Colson, one of several law firms representing the claimants.

Mr. Pitch said another $8-million is designed to go to insurance companies that made payments to local residents eligible as class-action members.

The rest of the settlement will cover fees and administrative costs. The Ontario Ministry of Health will also be partly compensated for health-care services it had to provide.

Mr. Pitch said the 6,500 claimants see the settlement as a "reasonable compromise."

"A lot of this thing is emotional as to what they went through and they just want to know it's over," he said. "For many of these people, it was a traumatic, shock event."

Town hall meetings will be held July 15, 16 and 29 to explain the settlement. Details are here.

The proposed settlement will be brought to an approval court hearing on Aug. 7.

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