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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Province asks health-care staff to be ‘vigilant’ in screening for possible coronavirus cases

This comes after U.S. health officials confirmed a case of the virus in Washington State

Homes fit for royals for sale in North Saanich

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have returned to Greater Victoria

Gold Rush star dons Lucky Lager shirt in latest episode

Brennan Ruault, originally from Invermere, joined the show in the sixth season

VIDEO: Dashcam records near-miss by bad driver near Sooke

Driver crossed four lanes of traffic and back over again, barely missing three other vehicles

VIDEO: Protesters block entrance to Victoria government building to support Wet’suwet’en First Nation

Activists want Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs demands to be upheld, observed and respected

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into B.C. newsroom office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

Flight 752 was shot down by Iran shortly after take off

Mission Hill cellarman fired after mistakenly dumping $162K of wine down the drain

The former employee filed a grievance with the West Kelowna winery but was unsuccesful

Police suspect foul play in Cowichan Tribes death

Police are looking at foul play in relation to a death on… Continue reading

Hospital patient pleads guilty to dumbbell assault of nurse in Abbotsford

Neale Heath admits to assault causing bodily harm in attack last September

Most Read