Vehicle slams into house causing explosion in London, Ont., police say

Investigators said the fire is still active and has spread to several houses

Dozens of people have been displaced from their homes in southwestern Ontario as firefighters continue to battle a growing blaze following a major house explosion Wednesday night.

A vehicle slammed into a home in London, Ont., just before 11 p.m. Wednesday, setting off the blast, and a woman has since been charged with impaired driving, police said.

Investigators believe the vehicle hit a gas line.

Police confirmed Thursday morning that no one was in the home at the time of the crash, adding the building was completely destroyed in the explosion.

Seven people — including four firefighters and two police officers — were taken to hospital. One firefighter is in serious condition and the other people received minor injuries.

Daniella Alexandra Leis, 23, of Kitchener, Ont., was arrested and charged shortly after the incident, according to police.

Investigators said the fire is still active and has spread to several houses.

A spokeswoman for the city said about seven homes were “severely impacted” by the fire and about 100 residences have been evacuated.

London officials said in a statement that some of those displaced by the incident have been put up in hotels.

Investigators expect to be on scene for several days.

Keara-Lynn Douglas said she was watching TV around 11 p.m. when she felt her house shake.

She went outside and saw an orange glow a few blocks away and she drove to where the explosion occurred. As she drove up to the scene, Douglas said she saw large flames engulfing a few homes.

“One of the homes was completely gone,” she said. “There was just debris everywhere.”

She said a small group of people gathered and first responders arrived at the scene. “It brought everybody to tears. It was insane,” she said.

City councillor Jesse Helmer said he lives near the blast and initially thought a tree fell on his house.

“Then I went outside and saw a huge plume of smoke and fire going up into the sky,” he said.

Helmer said a community centre was immediately opened for displaced residents and other residents dropped off food and water.

“It’s important that we get together as a community,” said Helmer. “Everyone is really coming together to put up some donations and things that people will need because some of these people have lost everything.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

SD27 hires new finance manager

Barrett Gaunce is presently corporate controller for Northwest Territories Housing Corp. in Yellowknife

Second Rudy Johnson Bridge suspect in custody: RCMP

Michael Drynock is accused of kidnapping and attempted murder

Dog Creek Elementary-Jr. Secondary School gets a new principal

Former hockey player and coach Steve Carpenter back in School District 27

Williams Lake teen fundraising for Ecuador youth access to education

Ali Waterhouse went with MetoWe and ‘hit hard’ by the lack of resources for Ecuador youth her own age

Growing safety concerns for children spark public meeting at Lac La Hache with CRD and RCMP

Community members are voicing concern about criminal activity on Clarke Avenue

Groovy wedding a throwback to Woodstock ‘69

Couple hosts themed wedding 50 years after legendary festival

Clean the house, prep for your next trip: Tips to nix the post-vacation blues

48 per cent of travellers are already stressed about ‘normal life’ while still on their trip

More women may need breast cancer gene test, U.S. guidelines say

Recommendations aimed at women who’ve been treated for BRCA-related cancers and are now cancer-free

Couple could go to jail for taking 88 lbs. of Italian sand

Pair said they didn’t know it was illegal to take the sand, which is protected as a public good

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft: RCMP

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

VIDEO: RCMP unveil new, state-of-the-art forensics lab

The laboratory is expected to handle thousands of forensic services from across Canada annually

Most Read