Residents return to the houses destroyed by the explosion
Stepping into his east Ottawa home for the first time since the nearby blast last Monday, Ian Carlson is greeted by cracked ceilings, exposed insulation and much of his missing back wall.
The view through his front door is like looking through a tunnel, with a direct view of the backyard.
Above, the ceiling has collapsed over his 17-month-old son’s crib. The last time he entered the room, he hurriedly grabbed his son before fleeing to safety.
His family just moved in two months ago.
“Living there makes it feel like home, doesn’t it?” Carlson said Thursday after exiting the house with a few personal items in hand.
“If you go in there today, it’s … like a crime scene.
Police have since returned the Tenth Line Road site to developer Minto Communities while the arson investigation continues.
Homeowners like Carlson in the Avalon Vista community are now discovering details like red Xs painted on the facades of their property, remnants of search and rescue efforts.
“It’s almost a bit alien,” Carlson said. “It’s like seeing your stuff, but everything is just broken and scattered.”
Since the morning blast on February 13, Carlson has had many thoughts, such as whether his home would be written off and the size of the repairs.
Four houses around the corner were torn to pieces.
“[There’s] Debris everywhere because the whole back wall just blew away,” he said, describing the inside of his home.
“So it’s just glass, debris, furniture lying around. It looks like there was an explosion behind the house.”
As he fled the home, he said he did not notice any of the damage and was only concentrating on escaping with two children.
A structural engineer visited the house on Thursday, but much remains uncertain
“It’s still up in the air,” Carlson said. “Knowing that the foundation is structurally sound means they are likely to retain at least the foundation and most of the structure as much as possible.
“But you know, that’s because of the insurance.”
Residents want answers
Several people were injured and two people were pulled alive from the rubble after a gas leak triggered the explosion on Blossom Pass Terrace, according to the fire department. Nobody was killed.
Jiao Lee says life has not returned to normal. The idea that the leak in their development might have started in a house is almost too much to bear.
“If it’s in the house, that means [it] is the build, right?” she said on Wednesday. “If it’s construction, if they have a fault there, they could have faults in my house or another house.
“I don’t want to think about it.”
“Whatever the reason, it should be found out,” said Abhi Mann, another neighbor.
Minto said in an email on Thursday that safety is his top priority as it cleans up, checks homes and resumes
CLOCK | What happened that morning in Avalon Vista:
Ottawa Police said it could be weeks before more details about their investigation were released.
“I know the Ottawa Police Department is working very hard on this, but it’s stressful … for everyone in this community,” Orléans South-Navan Coun said. Catherine Kitts said on Wednesday.
“We want to know what happened here so it never happens again.”