London, Ont., After a vehicle drove into a house in the city's east end Wednesday night.
Police were called to be on Woodman Avenue near Queens Avenue at about 10:40 p.m. The road to Queens Avenue had struck a house.
About 15 minutes after the driver got arrested, the house exploded.
Daniella Alexandra Leis, 23, of Kitchener, Ont., Has been charged with impaired driving causing bodily harm and driving above the legal limit. She is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 4.
Acting Deputy Fire Chief Jack Burt said crews were evacuated.
"So we've got a significant debris field from an explosion that actually goes over a block area at this point," he said.
#LdnOnt: Late night explosion destroys 7 houses, 4 firefighters to hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Fortunately no civilians were hurt. This started when a car hit a natural gas line. Many homes are still evacuated, here's more from some affected residents: pic.twitter.com/JyMULviPRY
Burt said more than 50 firefighters were at the height of the fire.
Here's a breakdown of injuries from the fire:
- Four firefighters were hurt. Three people have been hospitalized in a serious but stable condition.
- Two police officers were also taken to hospital, but have since been released.
- A civilian was taken to hospital. That person's condition is not known.
Neighbors came quickly to the explosion, offering a place to sleep for those told to leave their homes. Others were circulating with water and coffee.
"I could see sparks exploding over the trees," said Joanne Bishop, resident in the area. "These are our friends and neighbors, so I think people are scared right now."
You could feel the explosion right through you– Krystina Curtis, witness
The explosion could be felt in homes blocks away and the sound carried across a large part of the city.
"There's shattered everywhere, windows are shattered." The witness said, Krystina Curtis.
Approximately 100 homes on Quebec Street, Woodman Avenue and Charlotte Street, between Lorne Avenue and Dundas Street, have been evacuated, and the area remains cordoned off for investigation.
The city has set up an Emergency Operations Center at 275 Boler Rd.
With so many people unable to go home, the City of London arranged for hotel rooms for dozens of families. It was still unclear how long the evacuation would have been.
"In my 20 years in the fire service, I've never seen an event of this nature," said Burt.
He said the home was "reduced to rubble" and nearby homes have extensive damage.
Could have been much worse
Burt said it was gone the area was evacuated when the gas leak was first detected or "this could have been a very different story."
The fires were extinguished by 10 a.m. Thursday.
Mayor Ed Holder said the city has been rented for their homes.
"All these people have had to endure one of the most terrifying nights in their lives, our hearts and prayers go out to them and their families," he said.
Road closures in Old East Village
Road closures as of 10:30 a.m. ET:
- Lorne Avenue Between Ontario and Quebec closed eastbound only.
- Dufferin Avenue between Ontario Street and Quebec Street closed.
- Queens between Ontario and Quebec closed.
- Quebec between Lorne and Dundas closed.
- Charlotte between Lorne and Dundas closed.
- Lorne between Charlotte and Quebec closed both ways.
- Woodman between Lorne and Dundas closed.
- Queens between Quebec and Woodman closed.
Police are asking people to avoid the area at this time.
Information phone line set up
The city also has set up an information phone line for those affected by the fire.
You can call 519-661-CITY (2489) ext 4548 or go to Boyle Community Center at 530 Charlotte Ave.