It sounded localized to the north west of us, whatever it was. So I headed out and up the stairs at the south side of our building. I know there is a door up there going on to the roof. It is locked, but it has a big window. When i got up there I couldn't believe the size of the fire i could see raging in the distance. It was quite stunning, the magnitude of it. I was so disoriented by its seeming size, and it being dark, I couldn't for some reason place where it even was. But it seemed somewhere near the 401 and Dufferin, was my best guess when i got back down here and thought about it.
I took a few pictures. Maximum zoom on my small point & shoot. Kind of far away (about 5km)... but you can still get some sense of the size of the fire based on the dots of light in the area. I got some video as well which shows the constant flaring up of the blaze that corresponded with the giant booms.
traffic cameras along the 401. While the pictures are small and grainy, and many of them move back and forth and only update every minute (so it's hard to be sure what direction the camera will be facing)... you could see the fire on several of them... from Keele to Allen, north of the 401... but not too far north.
We have no idea what it is on fire there. But it'll probably be burning for quite some time whatever it is.
Ironically, and so very sadly, most of the news web sites have stories (and pictures) about "explosions" and war on their front pages, way on the other side of the world, in Georgia currently. Hearing these explosions here really makes your heart go out to those unfortunate people caught in that insanity... where the big booms are moving around, purposefully caused by other human beings ("just following orders"), and maybe coming towards you (purposefully or accidentally... it doesn't really matter which).
The booming has stopped now, finally... after around several hours of it... we couldn't feel anything, but it was at times at least powerful enough to be setting off car alarms near here, 5km away.
I guess the fastest way to find out what it was is to... go to sleep. Surely some web site will have some information by the morning?! Selena is withholding permission to hop on my bike and ride up there with my camera... which is probably a good thing.
Update: Just found the first confirmation on a news site that i'm not making all this up. 5:58 am (news item posted 5:42am).