10 injured after house explosion rocks northeast Calgary neighbourhood

The explosion injured at least 10 people, six of whom suffered life-threatening injuries.  (Submitted by Michelle Van Ree  - image credit)
The explosion injured at least 10 people, six of whom suffered life-threatening injuries. (Submitted by Michelle Van Ree - image credit)

At least 10 people were seriously hurt Monday morning after a house exploded in northeast Calgary, destroying the home of origin and damaging several others nearby.

City officials say the explosion happened around 8:50 a.m. at a home on the 700 block of Maryvale Way N.E. in the city's Marlborough neighbourhood.

"Crews actually felt it at the fire station, 12 Station in Forest Heights," said Calgary Fire Chief Steve Dongworth. "Many of the neighbourhood folks would have felt that as well."

Emergency crews found 10 seriously injured adults at the scene, most of which were believed to have been inside the home that blew up. Ambulances brought them to nearby hospitals for treatment. Six of the victims suffered life-threatening injuries, officials said.

Submitted by Michelle Van Ree
Submitted by Michelle Van Ree

According to Dongworth, one of the victims was found hanging from a window of the source home when firefighters arrived at the scene.

Doug Brubaker, who lives across the street, said he saw two of the victims sitting in another neighbour's garage, waiting for an ambulance not long after the explosion. 

"I think they were in shock, because the one of the guy's forearms was … it was so badly burned," he said. "It was horrible."

Because of structural instability, crews have not been able to search the source home for more victims. Hours after the explosion, fire crews were still  working to extinguish hotspots in the basement.

The cause of the explosion is yet unknown.

"There's a number of things that could have caused this," Dongworth said, noting that the investigation is underway. Police say arson investigators are looking for any evidence of criminal activity.

The explosion was captured on a nearby office building's surveillance camera, and the video was sent to CBC News. The footage shows a large fireball burst above the treeline followed by a plume of dark smoke.

The force of the explosion damaged two homes neighbouring the home of origin, sparking fires in both buildings, officials said. Eight other homes were hit by debris, which was scattered widely about the area.


"There's actually debris everywhere," the fire chief said. "It was quite a significant explosion."

Enmax cut off power to the area for hours, and ATCO clamped off the natural gas line. The Enmax outage affected hundreds of homes,although power was restored around 2 p.m.

A transit bus is being used to shelter those evacuated from the nearby homes. According to Dongworth, the two homes on either side of the one that exploded sustained significant structural damage and will need to be assessed before the occupants return.

Blair Gallant, a Marlborough resident, was sitting in his home three blocks away when he heard the explosion and noticed his windows shake. He got in his car and drove toward the plume of dark smoke.

"It was like World War III, you know, there's fire trucks all over the place," he said, noting that he saw black material on the ground, covering the fresh-fallen snow.

He believed the dark substance was burned insulation from the roof of the exploded home.