A timeline of the explosion that rocked Orléans
Many Orléans residents were jolted awake early Monday morning after an explosion caused by a gas leak at a residential construction site rocked their homes several kilometers away.
Two men were pulled from the rubble in the hours after the blast and taken to hospital in serious but stable condition, while two children and two other adults were taken to local hospitals in stable condition. Another seven people were treated at the scene and released.
The Office of the Fire Marshal is leading the investigation into the Orléans explosion, while a fuel safety investigator and inspector from a technical standards and safety agency is assisting. The Ontario Department of Labor is conducting its own investigation.
Here’s what we know about how events unfolded from the moment of the explosion:
6:17 am (and 22 seconds) The explosion
Footage from a resident’s ring camera shows the moment an explosion rocked a residential area near Tenth Line Road, releasing a fireball several stories into the air and lighting up the early morning sky.
6:18 am 911 flooded with calls
Seconds later, multiple 911 calls poured in from residents about an explosion in the area of Tenth Line Road and Shallow Pond Place.
They felt their homes tremble miles from the blast radius. In the initial confusion, some local residents later told CBC they thought there had been an earthquake.
Divya Suri described seeing her windows blown out, the ceiling cracked and a door blown out of its frame.
Insulation could be seen scattered over houses and cars.
Drone footage captured by CBC showed the houses under construction where the blast took place were leveled.
6:34 am Ottawa Police briefed on ‘incident’
Seventeen minutes after the blast, Ottawa Police released the first tweet from emergency services saying they were aware of an “incident” in the area of Tenth Line Road and Harvest Valley Avenue.
Ottawa gas leak explosion
Five minutes later, they closed off an area around Tenth Line Road between Sweetvalley Drive and Harvest Valley Avenue.
7:08 Explosion confirmed
The Ottawa Fire Department confirmed on social media that the loud bang that shook homes in Orléans was the result of a gas leak.
More than 40 minutes after the blast, firefighters confirmed gas was still leaking at the site and urged people to avoid the area while they combed the debris looking for anyone in the debris.
7:19 am First person rescued
An hour after the explosion, the first of two trapped people was pulled out of the rubble.
According to fire department spokesman Nicholas DeFazio, the man was trapped under a pile of debris and firefighters had to use chainsaws to get to him.
He was taken to the Ottawa Trauma Center at Ottawa Hospital’s Civic Campus in serious but stable condition.
Residents were evacuated between approximately 7:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m
CBC spoke to a resident whose home is behind the area where the blast occurred.
Simerdeep Singh says police knocked on his door at around 7:45 a.m. and said he, his wife and two children were required to vacate their home indefinitely while officers checked the home’s structural integrity.
Each displaced person was instructed to seek shelter either at the Minto sales office at 2370 Tenth Line Road or on an OC Transpo bus in the Tenth Line Road and Sweetvalley Drive area.
9:31 am Second person rescued
A second person was pulled from a collapsed house more than three hours after the blast and two hours after the first person was found in the rubble.
He was taken to the trauma center in serious but stable condition, according to paramedics.
9:37 a.m. First press conference
Minutes after the second man was rescued, firefighters, police and paramedics held their first press conference, where they said a total of 11 people were injured in the blast. Two people in addition to the two who were pulled from the rubble were taken to hospital, while seven were treated at the scene and released.
At a second press conference an hour later, paramedics said the total number of injured had risen to 12.
11 a.m. Gas shut off
Late this morning, Enbridge Gas said in an email to CBC that it had shut off natural gas to 27 homes in the area, some of which were unoccupied.
11:40 Minto reacts
In an email statement to CBC, Minto Communities said emergency services were on-site in its Avalon Vista community.
“Minto team members are on site to address the needs of affected community members and we have opened our show homes to keep evacuated residents warm and comfortable,” said the company’s President, Brent Strachan.
1:40 p.m. Third press conference
Ottawa Fire Services, along with Ottawa Police and Orléans South-Navan Coun. Catherine Kitts held a third press conference.
They said the two rescued people were found in different areas. No one else was listed as missing.
4:00 pm Fire Marshal’s office arrives
A team of six investigators from the Fire Marshal’s Office had arrived on the scene by mid-afternoon. These included a drone operator, engineers and fire investigators.
The purpose of the investigation is to “determine the cause, origin and circumstances of the explosion,” CBC said in an email.
7:30 p.m. Reopening of the street, some residents are allowed to go home
Singh confirmed to CBC that he was told he would be allowed to return home with his family for the night, but he wasn’t sure if they had heating, hydroelectric or water.
Ottawa Police also said Tenth Line Road was reopened but residential streets around the blast were still closed.