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Charlotte Prong Parkhill photo

Charlotte Prong Parkhill photo

Jack Kinch, executive director of the KW Humane Society, says damage from a chemical explosion in a janitorial room at the shelter should be repaired within two weeks.

Explosion at Humane Society

By Charlotte Prong Parkhill
Kitchener Post staff

There’s a faint chemical smell in the air, giant fans whirring, phones ringing off the hook and men in hard hats and tool belts wandering through the lobby. And everywhere, there are animals.

But after an explosion on the weekend, the KW Humane Society is back in business.

“The big thing is, no animals or people were hurt,” said executive director Jack Kinch.

The chemical explosion happened in a janitorial and mechanical room overnight on Saturday and was discovered by staff who came into work that morning.

“It was basically a cleaning product that was inadvertently contaminated by another product,” Kinch said.

He said it was a cold explosion, meaning there was no flame or chemical burning. But there was some structural damage done to an internal wall, and the hot water heater was damaged, causing flooding in some portions of the building. The room also contained the main phone and electrical system, knocking out phone lines until late Monday.

Kinch hopes all repairs will be complete within a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, staff are in a positive mood and working toward getting everything back to normal as quickly as possible, while volunteers returned to their posts on Tuesday.

But Kinch admits it’s been one more blow in what he calls “an interesting year” for the Humane Society.

The centre was shut down during August, September and October to prevent the spread of ringworm. That closure set them back financially — abut $50,000 in lost adoption fees during the closure, and almost another $50,000 in increased costs for medications, cleaning products and quarantine trailers.

There are currently about 225 to 250 animals at the shelter awaiting adoption.

Kinch said if the public wants to help, “Adoptions would be great. Even though the animals weren’t injured, some of them certainly suffered some trauma.”

For those who cannot adopt a pet, cash donations or purchase of 2013 calendars would be appreciated. For more info, go to

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