Ed McCleave was vacationing in Mexico when a friend told him there’d been an explosion and fire at his southeast London home.

McCleave, not returning to London until Friday, says he’s desperate for answers into what caused the mysterious blast that injured a man, killed a dog and badly damaged his home of 25 years.

“I’m just blank. Oh, my God, I put so much work into that place,” McCleave said from Mexico Tuesday.

Emergency responders were called to 1335 Hamilton Rd, east of Highbury Avenue, shortly before 4 p.m. on Monday.

Ontario’s fire marshal was called in to investigate, but officials hadn’t been able to enter the home because it could have structural damage, London deputy fire chief Jack Burt said Tuesday.

“The investigation is strictly outside at this point,” he said.

The single-storey home was left with major damage to one side of its front.

Hundreds of bricks were on the ground, revealing charred wood where the cladding once stood.

Clive Hubbard, a fire investigator for the Ontario Fire Marshal, is investigating an explosion and house fire at 1335 Hamilton Road in London, Ont. The explosion and subsequent fire happened late Monday afternoon and the investigation continued Tuesday. Photograph taken on Tuesday December 5, 2017. (MIKE HENSEN, The London Free Press)

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the blast knocked the bricks off or if firefighters removed them.

The smell of smoke still lingered in the air Tuesday as fire officials mapped the debris field using small yellow flags. The markers were placed up to 20 metres away from the front of the home.

“There was an overpressure event at this residence and subsequent fire following that . . . the London fire department extinguished,” said Clive Hubbard, an investigator with the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal.

“My investigation now is centred around the origin, cause of circumstances of that event.”

Burt said a man was taken to hospital with burns to 25 per cent of his body.

Two other occupants escaped the blaze unharmed, Burt said, adding that a dog was missing and believed to still be inside the house.

McCleave, who said he’s been in Mexico with a friend since Thursday, has a tenant living in a separate unit of his home.

The tenant is visiting Colombia, but had recently allowed a couple to stay in his unit, McCleave said, adding he didn’t agree to this.

Union Gas workers and officials from the Technical Standards and Safety Authority were on the scene Tuesday. Two police cruisers were also parked outside the house.

“It’s a police investigation, so I’m here assisting them,” said Hubbard, who expects to remain at the house until Wednesday. “The investigation is still in its preliminary stages and I have not come to any conclusions,” he said.




Source: Blast rattles vacationing homeowner | The London Free Press