“Could it have been worse? Absolutely”: Seven injured in Old East Village explosion

An explosion in Old East Village had residents rushing from their homes late Wednesday night in a chaotic scene that ultimately saw several homes destroyed or damaged.

Ultimately 12 people including first responders were assessed on scene for injuries with seven people being transported to hospital. Of those seven, one is a civilian, four are firefighters and two are police officers.

A firefighter remains in stable but serious condition the rest of the injured have been released sustaining only minor injuries.

“Could it have been worse? Absolutely, “said Mayor Ed Holder at a press conference, “because of the great efforts of our first responders I think that helped avoid more injuries.”

It all began when police received a call regarding a car crashing into 450 Woodman Avenue at 10:37 p.m.

Police attended the scene and immediately recognized that a gas line had been ruptured. Police began evacuating the neighbourhood with several people already self-evacuating.

The house exploded around 10:50 p.m. Officials say no one was home at the time.

Up to 10 houses have been affected with several being severely damaged. All of the fires are under control however the losses are significant. Upwards of 50 firefighters were battling the blazes throughout the night.

Police currently have about 100 homes evacuated in a area spanning from Quebec Street, Woodland Avenue, to Charlotte Street.

The City of London set of a receiving area for those evacuated at Carling Heights Community Centre, as of 7:30 a.m. accommodations had been found for all those affected.

The Ontario Fire Marshall is expected to arrive Thursday morning to assist in the investigation.

The female driver was arrested and has been charged with impaired driving. Police say they will provide a further update on the driver later this morning.

Throughput the night reports of citizens pulling together were spread on social media. From neighbours helping elderly neighbours evacuate, to others providing shelter and food to those displaced.

“We wish full and speedy recoveries to all who were injured, I would like to acknowledge the citizens in the area for evacuating so quickly… and for providing care and comfort for those affected,” said Mayor Ed Holder.

Officials are expected to give updates throughout the day Thursday.

With reporting from Daryl Newcombe and Tamara Heisel

Source: “Could it have been worse? Absolutely”: Seven injured in Old East Village explosion | CTV