A massive search operation continues into its second day as emergency crews sift through the wreckage of a house explosion in Scarborough. One person remains missing following the incident that occurred on Sunday, with fire officials and the Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) leading a careful and respectful investigation at the site.
The explosion, which occurred on Kitchener Road near Lawrence Avenue East and Morningside Road, completely destroyed the house. Fire crews were first called to the scene around 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, according to Toronto Fire Platoon Chief John Brunton. The intensity of the explosion and the resulting fire has left the area heavily damaged, prompting a meticulous search process.
“We are going on the premise that there is somebody inside, and that will be part of the investigation,” stated Mariano Perini, OFM’s operations manager of major incidents, highlighting the cautious approach being taken due to the possibility of a body being buried within the debris.
Deputy Fire Marshall John McBeth, speaking to reporters, mentioned the use of heavy equipment to de-layer the debris, emphasizing the complexity and respectfulness of the search process. “The key thing for us is to do this investigation respectfully,” McBeth said.
A neighbor, Brad Crozier, recounted the horrifying moments following the explosion, where he witnessed the occupant of the house, engulfed in flames, trying to escape the rubble. The man’s efforts were in vain as the fire grew more intense, and he was last seen collapsing amid the flames.
Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg noted the high level of damage at the site, consistent with explosion aftermaths. While no remains have been found yet, officials believe the occupant did not survive. Sean Driscoll, spokesperson for the OFM, confirmed that the search concluded at 5 p.m. on Monday and was set to resume on Tuesday morning.
Adding to the complexity of the situation, Toronto police confirmed their interaction with a 62-year-old man at the same address on October 23. This encounter, involving the discharge of a Taser, led to the man being hospitalized and is currently under investigation by Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU).