KITCHENER – It was just before midnight when the house next door exploded, shaking Corneliu Prisecaru’s home like an earthquake.
He fled into the snow with his wife Lidia and their 11 terrified children. That was Jan. 27, 2013.
Six years later, the Prisecaru family may have to leave a different home where they now live with eight of their children, aged nine to 24.
Their future is as uncertain today as it was on that terrible night.
Prisecaru, 47, owes his insurer $147,661 after losing a legal battle he launched in the fallout of the explosion. He says he can’t pay the court-ordered debt.
He has stopped paying his rent. His landlord may terminate his tenancy.
He’s pleading with governments for help. They have declined to get involved in a private legal matter.
“Only God helps me,” says Prisecaru, an animated speaker of broken English who refers often to the Bible he carries.
His family has now faced two disasters. One was done to them. The other flows from the choices they made in the blast’s aftermath.
It began on a quiet Sunday night. Inside the Prisecaru home, everyone was asleep or preparing for bed after evening prayers.
Next door, natural gas was building up in the basement at 429 Activa Ave.
When it ignited, the upper floor of their neighbour’s house seemed to crumple on itself. Their neighbour’s garage door blew across the street.
Flames and smoke followed. The blast damaged the Prisecaru home, shattering a bathroom window.
Four neighbours were hurt in the blast but no…