House explodes in Nanaimo – Victoria News

A house exploded in Nanaimo’s Old Town neighborhood on Sunday evening.

Emergency crews were called to the intersection of Pine and Fitzwilliam streets at 8:30 p.m. on February 27 after a structure exploded next to St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church. The explosion could be felt for miles.

“I saw a huge ball of fire, debris flying everywhere, and after that it all went out,” said witness Andrew Johnson, who arrived at the church moments before the explosion. “Power went out, came back.”

He and other witnesses said several people appeared to have suffered injuries, including injuries from broken glass, during the incident.

Nearby homeowners were asked to leave their homes as utility crews investigated and RCMP at the scene told people to stay due to a gas leak.

Nanaimo RCMP noted in a social media post that the house was vacant. Police added that the immediate area is closed to the public and first responders are also asking motorists to avoid the area.

Father Harrison Ayre, pastor of St. Peter’s, said staff had just arrived at the church at the time of the incident, before the shelter opened for the night.

“I hope everyone is doing well,” he said. “It probably could have been much worse too. It’s still surreal.

– files from Mandy Moraes/Black Press Media
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