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Friday's house explosion not suspicious: Office of the Fire Marshal

Investigators have completed their on-scene investigation and the OFM says a report will be made public within 45 days
20200203 South Creek House Explosion KA 11
Some debris has been removed from the Southcreek Trail house that exploded on Friday. Investigators were on the scene Monday to make a final determination of the cause of the blast. Kenneth Armstrong/GuelphToday

The cause of last week’s house explosion in Guelph’s south end will be made public within 45 days, says a spokesperson for the Office of the Fire Marshal.

The OFM has completed its on-scene investigation into the incident that levelled a detached home on Southcreek Trail on Friday.

There is nothing to suggest any criminality in relation to the incident, said Steve Wilson, assistant deputy fire marshal by phone Tuesday.

GuelphToday reached out to the OFM head office for clarification after an inspector on the scene on Monday said he would not be releasing the cause of the explosion to the public.

Investigators with the OFM are instructed not to share the cause of an incident until a final report has been written and peer reviewed, said Wilson.

Wilson said the investigators are told to confirm the obvious — such as a house explosion — but to hold back the cause until everything the report is complete.

“I tell them ‘you shouldn’t be commenting on the cause,’” Wilson told GuelphToday. “We just have to be 100 per cent sure, because we are the subject matter experts and our police and fire partners are relying on us, that’s why we have the quality assurance piece and peer review piece.” 

Parts of the house were hauled away on the weekend to allow investigators room to find the exact cause of the blast, which occurred shortly before 1:40 p.m. Friday.

A woman and her dog were home at the time of the blast, but were both able to walk away from the scene with minimal injuries.

Enbridge Gas Inc. confirmed on Sunday it did work at the house on Southcreek Trail hours before it was levelled by an explosion on Friday, but a company spokesperson said the work was not related to the blast.

Investigators examine evidence at the scene of an incident and take their findings back to the office to write an expert report, said Wilson.

“It then goes through a peer-review quality assurance process and is reviewed by a supervisor and then normally only after that do we release the cause, because about half our matters are criminal, so we have to be very careful that we are not releasing information that our police partners don’t want us to,” said Wilson.

“The information will be available when the final report is done — it’s not secretive,” said Wilson.

The OFM makes an effort to have the reports completed within 45 days, he said.


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Kenneth Armstrong

About the Author: Kenneth Armstrong

Kenneth Armstrong is a news reporter and photojournalist who regularly covers municipal government, business and politics and photographs events, sports and features.
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