A 54-year-old man is dead and up to three dozen others have been forced from their homes following a ‘significant explosion’ that levelled a home in Caledon.
Provincial police were called to the scene on Maple Grove Road just before 6:30 a.m. Sunday after receiving several calls from nearby residents
Caledon Fire Chief Darryl Bailey said when emergency services arrived on the scene, they found a house that was completely levelled by the explosion.
“When our crews arrived they did not report any active, working fire on the scene,” said Bailey. “As you can imagine there was a significant amount of gas that was free flowing from the house and we wanted to make sure that we did not have a secondary explosion.”
He said the cause of the explosion has not yet been confirmed and that the Ontario Fire Marshal was investigating.
“This was a significant explosion that will have to be thoroughly investigated.”
— OPP Central (@OPP_CR) February 3, 2019
One victim was found deceased. He has been identified as Joseph Westcott. Officials said it appeared no one else had been injured by the blast.
The Ontario Fire Marshal’s office said 22 homes had some form of damage. Seven to nine of those homes were more severely damaged.
— Tammie Sutherland (@citytammie) February 4, 2019
A large portion of the street, 30 to 35 people, were evacuated and as many as 15 homes will need to be inspected for structural damage. Officials said it could be several days before people are allowed back into their homes.
“This is Caledon, people are very supportive — it’s community looking after community,” said Caledon mayor Allan Thompson.
“We learned a lot, watching what Mississauga went through and we’ve implemented it here. We’ll do what we can to support our community.”
Leslie, a resident of Caledon Village, said it sounded like her roof had collapsed when she heard the explosion.
She said it’s a very small and close community and hearing that someone has died is very devastating and it will probably ripple through the community.
Carolyn Hodder, who lives near the site of the blast, said she was in her kitchen when she heard a loud bang.
“It was a massive bang,” she said. “I thought the roof collapsed or something fell on the roof.”
She said her husband and daughter jumped out of bed and ran downstairs. Upon further inspection, they found about 10 cracks in the walls of their home.
Jennifer Lawrence, who also lives nearby, said the blast shook her house so hard that some of her paintings and mirrors fell off the walls of her home.
“There was a big boom and it was so aggressive that I thought my house was struck by lightning,” she said.
OPP Insp. Ryan Carothers said the street will be closed off for a couple of days as the investigation continues.
Files from The Canadian Press were used in this report