Blue Line

Ottawa police say a criminal investigation is underway following Orleans explosion

February 22, 2023  By The Canadian Press

Feb. 22, 2023, Ottawa, Ont. – Ottawa police say they have launched a criminal investigation into an explosion that injured 12 people in an east Ottawa neighbourhood last week.

Residents awoke in the early hours of Feb. 13 to what some described as a “big bang” – an explosion that destroyed several homes under construction at an Orleans housing development and caused damage to other nearby houses.

The Ottawa Police Service said its arson unit has deemed the explosion criminal after taking over the case last Friday.

Ontario’s provincial Office of the Fire Marshal and the Technical Standards and Safety Authority are also supporting the investigation, as is Minto Group, which owns the housing development.

Firefighters initially blamed the 6:18 a.m. explosion on a suspected gas leak, then backtracked, saying that the cause was still under investigation.

Six people, including two children and two men in severe condition, were taken to hospital for injuries sustained in the explosion.

Other houses in the development were already built and occupied, but police would not give details on whether all residents were evacuated, however, at the time said they had secured the area.

Minto Group opened one of its model homes to people who were displaced because of the disaster, the president of Minto Communities Canada told The Canadian Press in an email.

Brent Strachan said that safety was the company’s “top priority.”

Ottawa police said Wednesday that they were unable to release further details, because the investigation is ongoing. They are asking anyone with information about the alleged crime to contact the criminal investigations unit.

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