Vehicle slams into house causing explosion in London, Ont., police say

Investigators said the fire is still active and has spread to several houses

Dozens of people have been displaced from their homes in southwestern Ontario as firefighters continue to battle a growing blaze following a major house explosion Wednesday night.

A vehicle slammed into a home in London, Ont., just before 11 p.m. Wednesday, setting off the blast, and a woman has since been charged with impaired driving, police said.

Investigators believe the vehicle hit a gas line.

Police confirmed Thursday morning that no one was in the home at the time of the crash, adding the building was completely destroyed in the explosion.

Seven people — including four firefighters and two police officers — were taken to hospital. One firefighter is in serious condition and the other people received minor injuries.

Daniella Alexandra Leis, 23, of Kitchener, Ont., was arrested and charged shortly after the incident, according to police.

Investigators said the fire is still active and has spread to several houses.

A spokeswoman for the city said about seven homes were “severely impacted” by the fire and about 100 residences have been evacuated.

London officials said in a statement that some of those displaced by the incident have been put up in hotels.

Investigators expect to be on scene for several days.

Keara-Lynn Douglas said she was watching TV around 11 p.m. when she felt her house shake.

She went outside and saw an orange glow a few blocks away and she drove to where the explosion occurred. As she drove up to the scene, Douglas said she saw large flames engulfing a few homes.

“One of the homes was completely gone,” she said. “There was just debris everywhere.”

She said a small group of people gathered and first responders arrived at the scene. “It brought everybody to tears. It was insane,” she said.

City councillor Jesse Helmer said he lives near the blast and initially thought a tree fell on his house.

“Then I went outside and saw a huge plume of smoke and fire going up into the sky,” he said.

Helmer said a community centre was immediately opened for displaced residents and other residents dropped off food and water.

“It’s important that we get together as a community,” said Helmer. “Everyone is really coming together to put up some donations and things that people will need because some of these people have lost everything.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Local art on display at annual Hearth studio sale

Residents of and visitors to Fernie lined up outside Sarah Pike’s home… Continue reading

New location, new energy for The Good Earth

The Good Earth celebrated their grand opening in a new space on… Continue reading

Fernie Arts Co-op celebrates upgraded space with sale

The Fernie Arts Co-op was a busy place on Saturday, as they… Continue reading

Holiday Artisan Fair at The Arts Station showcases local talent

The Arts Station was bustling and alive with artisans, shoppers and live… Continue reading

Christmas cheer for charity

Tis the season of giving in the Elk Valley, as we see… Continue reading

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

B.C. VIEWS: Hunger does not end with the season

Despite innovations in food distribution, the need is still there in B.C. communities

Sharks beat Canucks 4-2 to snap 6-game skid

Vancouver visits Vegas on Sunday

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Most Read