OTTAWA — Officials say 12 people were injured in a gas explosion that rocked an east Ottawa suburb on Monday morning, including two children and two people who were pulled out of the rubble.
The two kids were among six taken to hospital immediately after the explosion in Orleans, Ottawa Paramedic Services said.
Two men had serious injuries, but all in hospital were in stable condition, paramedics said. Other injured people were released at the scene.
The explosion occurred at about 6:18 a.m. local time and destroyed four homes that were under construction, said Ottawa deputy fire chief David Matschke.
This was given to me by Tyler he lives in the area #Ottawa @ctvottawa pic.twitter.com/NKuLAWnvJ6
— Sandeep Saini (@journeyvialens) February 13, 2023
Ottawa Fire Services said a chainsaw helped in cutting through a large amount of debris to rescue the first person from the wreckage.
“The individual was stable and talking,” the fire service said in a Twitter post.
About three hours after the explosion, the fire service said it rescued a second person trapped inside a collapsed home who had been “surrounded by a large amount of debris.”
Firefighters said a gas leak was responsible for the explosion.
Amy Bond of the Ottawa Police Service said the force was working with the Ontario Office of the Fire Marshal to investigate the explosion.
@OttFire Firefighters used chainsaws to cut through a large amount of debris & have rescued one person from the wreckage. Individual was stable & talking. #OttNews pic.twitter.com/ch1hm144nB
— Ottawa Fire Services (@OttFire) February 13, 2023
Orleans South Coun. Catherine Kitts called the explosion a “distressing event” for residents and said the Canadian Red Cross and The Salvation Army were also providing help.
Mana Karki, who lives nearby, said she decided to take the day off work because she was “still in shock.”
Her garage door was destroyed in the blast, and her stairs were cracked.
“It was a big bang. Loud. I was freaking out,” Karki said.
Another resident, Mayank Sharma, said the explosion jolted him awake. He said he rushed to his children, who were crying about “the big bang.”
“We couldn’t figure out what the issue was. It was like like a bomb explosion, a plane crashed or someone banged into someone’s house,” Sharma said.
“We just couldn’t figure out what it was until we started hearing things. And we saw a police car on our street, and I think we heard there was a gas leakage.”
His friend Divia Furi, who also lives nearby, said the explosion left cracks in her home’s ceiling and walls and damaged her garage door.
The fire service said the destroyed houses were under construction in the areas of 10th Line Rd. and Shallow Pond Place.
The homes were under development by Minto Group. The developer says it has a team on the ground to address the needs of the community.
Other model homes are being used as temporary shelter spaces for residents who have been evacuated, said Brent Strachan, the group’s president for Ontario.
“We are working with authorities to identify the cause of the explosion and fully co-operating in the investigation. We will share more information as it becomes available. As always, safety is our top priority, and our thoughts are with everyone affected,” Strachan said in a statement Monday.
Rows of police cars, fire trucks and ambulances had stretched across the road in the early morning, but by noon most of the emergency personnel had left the scene.
Officials had initially warned people to stay away, as they believed gas was still leaking.
© 2023 The Canadian Press