The blast damages neighbors’ homes and causes confusion in the morning

A nearby home is damaged after an early morning explosion in the eastern Ottawa suburb of Orléans.  (Spencer Colby/The Canadian Press - photo credit)

A nearby home is damaged after an early morning explosion in the eastern Ottawa suburb of Orléans. (Spencer Colby/The Canadian Press – photo credit)

Neighbors living near the site of an explosion that destroyed several homes in east Ottawa on Monday morning are now dealing with property damage after confusion and panic broke out.

Five people were hospitalized after an explosion destroyed several houses under construction on Tenth Line Road just before 6:30am. Two of those people were rescued from the rubble.

Seven residents were also treated at the scene for minor injuries and released. Rescue workers said the explosion was caused by a gas leak.

Divya Suri was sleeping on the second floor of her home with the rest of her family, including her two-year-old son, when the blast happened.

“It felt like an earthquake,” she said. “Then we just stormed down. [I] I just took my baby, I just ran down.”

As the family poured into the street, they were greeted by other bewildered neighbors. Suri said they could smell smoke, “but we couldn’t figure out … exactly what it was.”

Suri, who lives across the street from the blast site, initially thought only her front door was damaged. As they attempted to go to work later that morning, the family discovered extensive damage to the garage: window blown out of door, ceiling cracked and the access door to the house broken out of frame.

Spencer Colby/The Canadian Press

Spencer Colby/The Canadian Press

“It was just a big bang with [a] big noise and it just shook everything up,” said Mayank Sharma, a friend who lives nearby.

“One of our nieces, she just woke up and started crying … because we were all fast asleep and just couldn’t figure it out.”

Sharma also initially thought it was an earthquake or possibly even a plane crash, but couldn’t see any of the smoke. Even as police, firefighters and paramedics began flooding the area, his family still wasn’t sure what had happened.

After inspecting his own home, Sharma went to see Suri’s family.

Mateo Garcia-Tremblay/Radio Canada

Mateo Garcia-Tremblay/Radio Canada

The explosion could be felt miles away

Amjad Faza, who lives off Tenth Line Road, was studying when the blast went off. He described the moment he stepped through his front door, which had been blown open, as one of chaos.

“When I came outside, there was snow everywhere. It was really hard to see, and then you could hear people across the street screaming like people were asking for help and stuff like that,” he said.

It’s unclear how widespread the damage was, but Ontario Liberal MP Stephen Blais wrote on Twitter: “I pray no one was hurt.

The Ottawa Police Department and Firefighter’s Office said they are investigating the cause of the blast.


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