Man's body discovered in southwest Edmonton home after explosion, fire

Man's body discovered in southwest Edmonton home after explosion, fire

A man's body was found inside a southwest Edmonton home Friday after an explosion and fire.

The fire is considered suspicious and the investigation was turned over to police, fire officials confirmed to reporters at the scene.

"A deceased male was discovered in the house," EPS spokesperon Scott Pattison said. "The death appears to be non-criminal at this time.

"Our investigation is with respect to the deceased," Pattison said, adding that he could not comment on whether or not arson is involved.

Fire officials "would usually make that determination if they think it's suspicious and then hand it over to us," he said.

'It was just too hot'

Mark Hudson lives in a duplex near the burnt-out home at 12142 16th Ave. SW in the Rutherford neighbourhood south of Ellerslie Road.

"I was at home and heard a series of three pops," Hudson said. "I looked out the window and saw a bunch of smoke coming from down the street."

He rushed outside and said he found a man making a 911 call on the street in front of the burning home.

"He just looked at me and said, 'There's people in the house, there's people in the house.' And then he took his phone and he ran."

Hudson banged on the door, which he said was answered by two men who appeared to be in their 20s. They told him another man was trapped upstairs.

"We tried to go upstairs but it was too hot," Hudson said. "We were throwing shoes in the room and just screaming, 'Hello, hello, hello.' And nothing. I just heard nothing.

"There was smoke pouring out. All I could do was get on the top steps, I couldn't even get on the landing and you're sort of on your hands and knees and you're kind of banging and pushing on the door."

The door was getting soft but Hudson said he couldn't force it open.

"The door was open maybe a foot but it was jammed and you could see the flames — orange, bright flames."

Thick black smoke clogged the air, Hudson said. The men ran downstairs, then tried to go back three more times but failed.

"It was just too hot," he said. "We heard the fire trucks come so we went outside and the fire guys just said, 'Get out of here.' "

'They were just frazzled'

Fire crews were sent to the home at about 11 a.m. and found the upper floor of the duplex engulfed in flames upon arrival.  

A fire spokesperson said seven units, including a hazardous materials team, were called in to help with the incident, which was contained to the upper floor of the home.

The fire was brought under control by 11:30 a.m., fire officials said. 

Hudson said he stood within view as firefighters doused the flames. 

"The guys kind of came out shaking their heads and then the cops came and went to talk to them," he said. 

After a conversation, Hudson said he saw officers escort the two men who had been inside the home into a nearby police car.

"There was an officer on each guy, sort of holding his arm," he said. "They were just frazzled."

Police have released few details as they continue to investigate.