The first big blast came from a high-explosive bomb strategically placed in the Distillery District. Its position was calculated to cause maximum damage as well as spread panic and confusion.
The walls of a historic brick building—a former factory—seemed to belch outward as the shock waves heaved away from the point of detonation. Then the walls collapsed inward as the trailing vacuum sucked them back in, the overpressure creating an earsplitting sonic boom.
The heat from the explosion released a thermal wave, and newly exposed, combustible material incinerated in microseconds. Fragments of bricks, plumbing pipes, window frames, and furniture spread into the street as small shards were expelled at supersonic speed.
For those closest to the blast, death came mercifully fast. The shock wave ravaged internal organs, shrapnel from debris shredded body tissue, and the fireball immolated whatever was left.
Over the next seven minutes, five regions in greater Toronto were targeted, with similar results. The shock waves could be felt throughout the entire metropolitan area. Entire blocks were leveled and left in flames, transportation was disrupted, and three bridges were destroyed.
The psychological shock waves, however, had yet to begin to spread.
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