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Kitchener, Ont. house explosion that injured 4 now deemed 'criminal in nature'


The Ontario Fire Marshal's Office has determined an explosion at a Kitchener, Ont. townhouse Wednesday night, that left four people injured, was criminal in nature.

Waterloo regional police said emergency services were called to the area of Elm Ridge Drive and Queen's Boulevard around 11:40 p.m.

Two children were taken to a local hospital with minor injuries and have since been released, while a man and woman were transported to a hospital outside the region with serious injuries.

On Thursday night, a press release from police stated that the Ontario Fire Marshal's Office determined that the explosion was "criminal in nature." They added: "The investigation is ongoing by [Waterloo regional police]'s General Investigations Unit and Drugs and Firearms Unit and the OFM."

The blast blew out the home's windows and doors and scattered debris across the yard. Neighbouring units also suffered significant structural damage and had to be evacuated, police said.

Crews were called to the home around 11:40 p.m. Wednesday. (CTV Kitchener)

Lincoln Jeffries lives in the complex and said he heard a rumble before another family member yelled at him to grab his young son.

“[I went into] just instant dad mode,” Jeffries said. “Sprinted out the door, didn’t think about jackets – nothing.”

In the hours that followed, he said community support was critical.

“Everyone in the neighbourhood was awesome, inviting people into their homes to stay warm. There’s a family – they’re actually pretty new here – they got water, they were bringing people food, blankets," Jeffries said. "Everybody was super helpful which was really nice to see because some of us are really close, and some of us aren’t, but everyone was just helping each other as much as they could.”

Kristopher Chisholm, who lives nearby, said he heard a woman scream and rushed outside.

“I saw glass on the street, part of the screen on the other side of the street, so I instantly, I think, ‘something blew up,’” Chisholm said.

Investigators are seen inside the home on Thursday around noon. (Terry Kelly/CTV Kitchener)

“It’s terrible, you don’t want to see any family go through something like that,” said Ken Szewczyk, who lives in a townhouse about 100 yards from the explosion site. “And from what we’re seeing, how many ambulances – I think it was four or five – and how the people were being put into the ambulances, it didn’t look too good.”

In moments that followed the explosion, a nearby resident rushed in to try and help people trapped inside.

Josh Barlow says he was able to get one child out of the home but when he tried to go back to help the other, smoke was too thick for him to navigate.

Szewczyk said another neighbour ran to the fire station at the end of Elm Ridge Drive to notify crews of the emergency.

Police say a man and woman were transported to an out-of-region hospital with serious injuries. (CTV Kitchener)


Waterloo regional police, Kitchener Fire and the Ontario Fire Marshal continue to investigate.

“Kitchener utilities is on-site as well as TSSA [Technical Standards and Safety Authority] and they have assured me just now that the utility itself is safe and is not the suspected cause of the explosion,” said Kitchener Fire Chief Robert Gilmore.

Gilmore said the cost of the damage is estimated in excess of $1 million.

Emergency crews remain at the scene Thursday morning. (CTV Kitchener)


A Grand River Transit bus was brought in to provide shelter to people displaced by the explosion in the immediate aftermath.

The Red Cross also confirmed it was providing food and lodging.

Kitchener Fire said everyone who was evacuated would be able to return home by Thursday night, with the exception of those living in the unit that exploded.

Wreckage from the home is seen strewn across the yard. (Terry Kelly/CTV Kitchener) Top Stories

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