Investigation continues into fatal house explosion in Caledon

Investigation under way into deadly Caledon house blast
WATCH ABOVE: A deadly explosion in Caledon has forced the evacuation of more than 30 people. Now we’re getting a closer look at the devastation left behind, as investigators continue their search for answers. Shallima Maharaj reports.

Some residents forced out of their homes following a fatal house explosion in Caledon, Ont., over the weekend may not be able to return for several months.

“Once the properties are released back to the town, it’ll be a process that brings them back in. That process will include us meeting with the families,” Fire Chief Darryl Bailey said during a news conference on Monday.

“We have no date and no time as of yet and we are working towards that to have a discussion with all the residents that were affected by this incident.”

Emergency crews responded just after 6 a.m. Sunday to reports of an explosion on Maple Grove Road in the neighbourhood of Caledon Village.

READ MORE: Caledon house explosion leaves one dead

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Ontario Provincial Police said a single detached bungalow was demolished and one person was pronounced dead at the scene. The deceased has been identified as 54-year-old Joseph Westcott.

“I don’t know where he was found but we do know he was the only occupant in the house at the time,” OPP Insp. Ryan Carruthers said.

Caledon Fire and Emergency Services said the debris field is large and the cause of the explosion is under investigation.

“This is a high order explosion. So the blast pressure wave that went through here was more than 1,000 metres per second,” Andrea Gaynor, acting supervisor for fire investigations at the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office, said during a news conference on Monday.

READ MORE: Death of woman at scene of Kitchener house explosion ruled a homicide: police

“So it’s shattering everything in it’s path and there’s a positive pressure wave that goes out and a negative pressure comes back. Sometimes that negative pressure is as forceful as the positive one, or more so.”

Several nearby homes were also damaged and approximately 30 to 35 residents had to be relocated.

Town of Caledon officials said inspections are being conducted of nearby residences for structural damage.

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Police said they will have officers present in the area to protect the vacant homes until residents can return.

“We’re going to provide that security for as long as it takes until we can get them back in their homes,” Carruthers said.

The Office of the Fire Marshal is leading the investigation.