‘Homes just don’t explode’: Police begin lengthy investigation into Transcona house explosion

The occupants of an exploded home in Winnipeg have been found alive, as residents in the area deal with the aftermath of the incident.

The father and daughter who live at the Transcona home that exploded Wednesday morning are safe and are in the process of speaking with police.

The Winnipeg Police Service says investigators got in contact with the man and woman at some point after the explosion. The father is believed to be the homeowner.

Police say it’s too early to determine why the home on Camrose Bay exploded.

“Houses don’t just explode. There is a reason for it, and what that reason is has yet to be determined,” WPS Cst. Jason Michalyshen told reporters Thursday near the spot where the house previously stood.

Debris on front lawn of Transcona home after explosion on June 26, 2024. (CityNews)

Winnipeg police are not ruling out a criminal element, but Michalyshen says it’s too early to speak to that.

“We’re going to look at any and all potential causes for this fire,” he said. “Are we looking at gas or electrical, are we looking at any other factors potentially. Those are all going to form a part of our investigation. We’re not going to jump to conclusions, we’re not going to speculate.

“We’re not going to leave any stone unturned. The investigation’s going to guide us in the direction that it needs to.”

The “catastrophic” explosion around 11:20 a.m. fully levelled the home, damaged multiple others, displaced several residents and sent debris flying – in some cases “blocks away.” There were no serious injuries reported.

Michalyshen says only parts of the home’s foundation remain intact, with a demolition crew moving in later Thursday for cleanup. He says the roped-off police perimeter will be expanded as at least one tow truck and other equipment is brought in.

The WPS major crimes unit is working alongside WFPS, the bomb unit, and the forensic identification section. Manitoba Hydro will also be involved.

“There’s a lot of moving parts here,” Michalyshen said, adding the investigation could take weeks or potentially months.

The police constable acknowledged the community is shaken and “struggling with what happened.” One resident of the neighbourhood asked Michalyshen during the press briefing if there was any additional risk to public safety.

“We have no information right now that there’s a threat to the community, or that safety is being compromised moving forward,” Michalyshen told her. “This area is safe, we’ve determined that.”

For Karl Lent, who lived next door, he says his insurance company has told him he could be out of his home for one to two years.

“We’re homeless, insurance is looking after us right now, so it’s a good thing. When you sit down and think I got nowhere to go. I’ve got no identification now, I’ve got nothing, just the clothes on my back that’s it,” said Lent.

Mitch Purtill another area resident who saw the aftermath of the explosion after finishing his shift as a firefighter Wednesday night says while he can access his home, he’s still checking in with his insurance company regarding any potential damage.

Despite the chaotic scene, he’s just happy no one was seriously injured from the explosion.

“What went through my mind at the time of day was that I have grandkids that could have been out playing, that kind of freaks you out. It’s a miracle nobody was injured or killed,” said Purtill.

Winnipeg Police are asking anyone with information or surveillance footage to contact them.

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