Early estimate pegs London home explosion damage at $500K

Ontario Fire Marshal's Office investigator, Clive Hubbard, studies the wreckage of a home explosion on Hamilton Rd on Tuesday, Dec 5th. Liny Lamberink/980 CFPL

Tape measure in hand, an investigator with the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal spent Tuesday gathering data at the scene of a home explosion in south-east London.

Fire officials have an early damage estimate pegged at $500,000 — but that number is subject to change, once provincial fire investigator Clive Hubbard is able to get inside the home. Once he does, he expects to discover more harm based on what he’s seen outside 1335 Hamilton Rd.

“We’ve got some exterior walls that have been displaced outwards, so I’m measuring the distance that they’ve been displaced outward from the structure, and then there’s some additional fire patterns as a result of the subsequent fire,” he explained.

READ MORE: House explosion in London’s east end sends one to hospital

Bricks littered the home’s north-west corner and a west-facing wall could be seen through the brush, marred by a gaping hole just above a basement window.

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“I’m just gathering some data in regards to the structure here… [and] how it behaved as a result of the event,” Hubbard explained.

He requested an engineer to attend the scene, who assistant deputy fire chief, Jack Burt, said will determine the structural integrity of the home, post-blast.

“The cause of the explosion and fire is still under investigation, while we’re trying to discover the origin, cause, and circumstances,” explained Burt.

READ MORE: The Halifax Explosion killed nearly 2,000 people. Here is where most of them lived.

Emergency services were called to the scene around 4 p.m. Monday and discovered a man with second and third-degree burns covering 25 per cent of his body.

Burt says the individual is still in hospital, while two other residents escaped unscathed.

The property was a hive of activity Tuesday, with members of London Hydro, the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA), and the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA).

London police were also on scene, providing security. An officer noted that a couple of people dropped by, inquiring about a dog belonging to the burn victim that hasn’t been found following the blast.

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Neighbours say the property owner, who lives on site with the tenants he rents to, was out of the country at the time of the explosion.

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