Arson, criminal negligence charges laid in explosion that destroyed Orléans homes

Ottawa police have laid 12 charges against an Ottawa man in connection with the major Feb. 13 explosion in an Orléans housing development.

Kody Crosby, 35, was arrested and charged Wednesday, police said.

The charges are four counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm, six arson charges against people and property and two counts of break and enter.

Four homes were destroyed and others were badly damaged by the explosion around 6:15 a.m. that Monday morning. Firefighters said at the time a gas leak triggered the blast.

The Ottawa police arson unit took over the investigation the following weekend.

WATCH | What happened that morning in Avalon Vista:

A complex investigation determined a "criminal action" had set in motion the chain of events that likely caused the explosion, Staff Sgt. Cameron Graham with the Ottawa police arson unit told CBC Thursday.

Investigators removed enough debris from the site to fill four 40-foot dump trucks, Graham said. They then sorted through the debris to rebuild the gas and electrical systems from the houses that had been destroyed.

Graham said Crosby was known to Ottawa police but did not specify how. Police have confirmed Crosby was not an employee of Minto Construction, the company that oversaw the work site, but Graham did not rule out the possibility Crosby may have been employed by one of the many Minto subcontractors.

Two men were pulled from the wreckage in the hours after the blast and rushed to hospital in serious but stable condition, while two children and two more adults were taken to local hospitals in stable condition.

Many more people in the east Ottawa community were forced from their homes.

Developer Minto said the day after the explosion about 30 families were living in Avalon Vista, another six families were planning to move in that week and about 100 or so homes were under construction.

Minto Communities Canada President Brent Strachan said in an emailed statement after the charges were announced that the company is relieved by the charges and thanked the authorities.

"Our focus remains on the construction of our community so residents can move into their new homes as soon as possible."