Home Explodes in Nanaimo – Victoria Times Colonist

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Several people were injured in the blast, which some locals initially thought was caused by a bomb blast.

Investigators are trying to determine the cause of a massive explosion that leveled an 800-square-foot home on Nanaimo’s Pine Street on Sunday night and rocked nearby streets as debris flew throughout the neighborhood.

Some locals initially thought a bomb had gone off.

Two people were taken to hospital after being hit by shards of glass. RCMP believe the house was vacant at the time of the blast, with its last tenants evicted in late January.

Lisa Cook was on the couch in her nearby Pine Street home when “all of a sudden this huge boom went off and we were on the ground. We are on our living room floor.

She remembers thinking, “Oh my God, was that a bomb?”

“We didn’t get up for a few minutes because we thought the roof might collapse because we had no idea what was going on.”

When she got up and went into the kitchen, “the rain was coming through my roof because the three skylights had blown out”.

Neighbors helped cover the skylights.

The house that exploded had been used by squatters and needles were left in nearby lanes, Cook said. She avoided walking nearby, she said.

She wondered if the explosion was caused by a meth lab, as the volatile chemicals used in the drug’s manufacturing process caused explosions elsewhere.

Luke Antrim’s four children, ages 2 to 12, had just been put to bed, and he was watching a TV documentary at his home about 450 yards from the site of the blast when suddenly he heard a bang that “completely shook our house. ”

“I felt like I was going about a foot forward and back.”

He ran to check on the kids and make sure the explosion wasn’t coming from his house. Outside, neighbors gathered, saying their windows had been smashed. Antrim visited the site of the explosion, which “reeked of natural gas”.

Roof shingles, pink insulation and downspouts hung from a nearby tree. Debris was spread within a radius of about 100 meters around the site of the explosion and scattered in the nearby cemetery, he said.

The explosion was heard across the city and several miles away.

Nothing but rubble was left at the site of the 1920 one-story, two-bedroom house at 306 Pine Street, adjacent to St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church on Machleary Street.

The home, valued at $452,000, belonged to someone who owns another property on Pine Street.

On Monday, home repair businesses were in the neighborhood, where broken windows were boarded up.

Police and firefighters were on the scene minutes after the 8:20 p.m. explosion and the area was cordoned off and streets temporarily closed.

When emergency crews arrived they found a strong smell of natural gas coming from the debris, RCMP Const. said Gary O’Brien.

Fortis BC said the blast damaged the home’s natural gas meter and gas was coming out of it when crews arrived on Sunday evening. Workers shut off the gas supply to the property and performed additional testing at neighboring properties, but found nothing of concern, Fortis spokeswoman Lauren Lea said.

Fire investigators were on site Monday to determine the cause of the explosion.

O’Brien said nothing was ruled out, but the cause was most likely accidental.

The explosion knocked down a nearby power line and disrupted the RCMP detachment’s telephone service for approximately 20 minutes. No one was located in the debris field, O’Brien said.

A nearby home sustained significant damage from the blast and two of its occupants were taken to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital for treatment after being struck by shards of broken glass, O’Brien said. .

Anyone with information about the explosion is asked to call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and cite file #2022-6847.

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