"Debris was flying from every direction": Gas explosion levels Guelph home

"Debris was flying from every direction": Gas explosion levels Guelph home


A neighbour, who lives behind the home leveled in a gas explosion, provided this photo to media. He said he watched first responders walk a woman out of the home. - Supplied

A home in the city's south end is completely destroyed and a neighbourhood has been evacuated after a gas-fuelled explosion on Friday afternoon.
Speaking at the corner of Edinburgh Road South and Southcreek Trail, Guelph police media officer Const. Kyle Grant described it as "a gas line explosion" at a home on Southcreek.
At the time of the explosion, there was a woman and a dog inside the home. Both have made it out unharmed, he said.
The explosion happened at around 1:40 p.m. on Friday. It's unclear what caused the blast, but as of 5 p.m., crews were still trying to get the gas shut off. Neighbours have identified the house as 32 Southcreek.
The video above was captured by neighbours and shared with media, showing a person being assisted by Guelph firefighters.
Residents on Southcreek have been evacuated from their homes. A Guelph Transit bus is parked at a nearby plaza, where homeowners have temporarily relocated.

Guelph Deputy Fire Chief Dave Elloway said fire crews are working with another company to access underground locates and identify the gas line and other utilities. He said he wasn't able to comment on how long it may take before residents are allowed to return to their homes.

Cheryl MacDonald lives across the road from the home and went outside when she heard the blast.

"The house that exploded, it's just a pancake," she said.

She said she called out to see if anyone was inside, and the woman who lives there responded," MacDonald said. The woman said she was all right and that she had gone under a sofa.

MacDonald said she stayed with the woman until police and fire arrived.

Erick Li lives beside the home that exploded. He said he wasn't home at the time, but his wife was. She told him she thought it was an earthquake.

"The house was all exploded, like, into pieces," he said. The side of his home was also badly damaged, he said.

One of the neighbours who lives behind the property said he saw the home just after the explosion.

"When the house exploded, we turned around to look at it and it was in the air, coming down. And debris was flying from every direction."

He said at his home, kitty-corner to the house that was destroyed, picture frames had blown off the wall by the blast.

Soon after the explosion, he ran over to the home and he could smell the strong smell of gas.

I spoke to Erick Li. He lives beside the house that exploded. He wasn’t home at the time, but his wife was. He describes what he heard from her. 

Update: 6 p.m.

Karen and Steve Rodd live three doors down from 32 Southcreek Tr. Standing at corner of their street at 6 p.m., they said they were hoping to be able to return to their home soon to check on their cat.

Karen said she was upstairs when the explosion happened. "I heard a boom and the whole house shook."

When she and her husband went outside, she said other neighbours had also come out. Two people ran behind the damaged house to see if anyone was injured or still inside. She said most of the neighbours kept their distance because the smell of gas was so strong.

It wasn't long before police arrived and evacuated them and their neighbours.

"Overall, the response was phenomenal," she said, speaking of the first responders.

Update: 7 p.m.

Manny Garcia, a supervisor with the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal, said crews are still working to get access to the gas line valve in order to shut it off.

Normally, utility companies would be able to shut off gas lines at the house directly, but since the home was flattened, crews now have to dig through the ground to shut it off at a different spot.

"Right now, we have natural gas flowing out in an uncontrolled fashion," he said. "We have to basically find where the shut-off valve is on the street and make a hole in the street and get to it."

Crews are using high-pressure water to dig through the ground to get to the valve. The electricity to the surrounding houses is already off. Once crews are able to stop the flow of gas and wait a short period of time for the gas to dissipate, they can then turn the power back on and invite residents back into their homes.

"We're trying to get people back in as soon as possible."

He said he expects investigators will be at the site for a few days to investigate and understand the cause of this explosion.

<back to Headlines