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A look back at house explosions in the last decade

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The house explosion on Elm Ridge Drive in Kitchener that sent four people to hospital and displaced several others wasn’t the first one in our area in the last decade.

The Elm Ridge incident is now the fourth since 2013 – with two occurring in Kitchener and one in Guelph.

ACTIVA AVENUE EXPLOSION

In January 2013, neighbours said the explosion of a home on Activa Avenue in Kitchener sounded like a massive thunder strike.

“My entire house shook. I thought it was an earthquake at first,” a neighbour Austin Koehler told CTV on Jan. 13, 2013.

A mother, father and their two children in the heart of the explosion were asleep when it happened.

"She was on the roof. She was screaming for her child,” witness Masih Rashed said.

Nine months later, Minh Nguyen, one of the victims, told CTV he was still shaken after the incident.

Nguyen said he spent two months recovering.

“I tried to stand up, but I fell down three times because my pelvis is broken,” Nguyen said.

No cause was ever determined for the explosion, beyond an unknown gas-related origin.

SPRUCEDALE CRESCENT EXPLOSION

Only about five kilometres from Activa Avenue, on Sprucedale Crescent, a house was levelled in August 2018.

Over 30 firefighters were on-scene fighting the flames in the home that exploded, along with two adjacent houses that were damaged.

“I just heard this sort of crackling noise going up the wall, and I thought that's kind of weird, and then kaboom,” said Sharee Bailie in an interview with CTV on Aug. 27, 2018.

A woman, later identified as Edra Haan, 58, was killed. A man, later identified as her husband, Udo Haan, was airlifted to hospital.

Udo Haan was later arrested in connection to the incident and is facing first-degree murder and arson charges. He was denied bail in 2019. He is still going through the court system and has a hearing scheduled for Feb. 1, 2023.

Edra’s brother spoke to CTV days after the explosion.

“As a sister, she was somebody I looked up to. Someone who put her family ahead of herself," Al Pinheiro said.

The cause of the explosion was not released, but it was believed Edra was killed before the house blew up.

SOUTHCREEK TRAIL EXPLOSION IN GUELPH

A woman escaped unharmed after her home went up in flames in January 2020 on Southcreek Trail.

“I'm absolutely grateful that she didn't have any injuries at all," const. Kyle Grant from Guelph police told CTV on Jan. 31, 2020.

Neighbours were left on edge.

“I basically heard like a big boom and rattling of our house,” said neighbour Stephanie Roth.

For months, the cause was investigated.

The Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) later determined the explosion was due to a gas metre change and “procedural problems on-site”. Enbridge confirmed the company did work at the home before the incident.

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