'Major explosion' obliterates Regina home, only minor injuries reported: fire department

A home on the corner of 6th Avenue and Retallack Street has crumbled to the ground in what the Regina Fire Department has called a 'major explosion.' (Matt Howard/Radio-Canada - image credit)
A home on the corner of 6th Avenue and Retallack Street has crumbled to the ground in what the Regina Fire Department has called a 'major explosion.' (Matt Howard/Radio-Canada - image credit)

Minor injuries followed a reported explosion at a now-crumbled home in the North Central neighbourhood in Regina on Sunday.

The Regina Fire Department posted on Twitter that emergency services are responding to a "major explosion" on the corner of 6th Avenue and Retallack Street.

Documents show the building was owned by the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation.

The Regina Police Service told CBC the explosion was reported to them at 10:48 a.m. CST. Emergency services haven't confirmed the cause of the explosion.

The fire department posted on Twitter stating that the explosion caused "extensive damage to multiple structures," but only minor injuries were reported as a result.

Unaffected residents were allowed to return home after being asked to leave earlier in the day, and traffic closures were still in place as of 6:00 CST Sunday while fire investigators combed the scene of the explosion.

Derrek Rackel, who lives a few houses away from the damaged building, said the shock wave was so intense it caused plants on his shelves to fall over and even broke a window on the exterior of his home. He estimated the explosion happened about 30 metres from his back fence.

He and his family were sitting in the living room when suddenly he felt an extraordinary shock wave.

"I thought the water heater exploded ... in the basement. I saw everything pick up off the ground for a second; the windows were shaking; there was a flash of bright light," he said, also comparing it to having a truck slam into the side of the house.

Derrek Rackel
Derrek Rackel

One plant on the windowsill launched about a foot onto a nearby shelf, Rackel said.

"I felt the shock wave come up from the floor up my whole body; I can still feel it in my back, in my spine. My neck and everything is all tense, it feels like I was in a car accident," he said.

"None of us have ever experienced anything like it. It was so dramatic and it was over so quickly."

Rackel said following the explosion, a fireman came to the door and said they were advising everyone on the block to evacuate their homes until they could manage a gas leak.

To Rackel's knowledge, the building unit, which appeared to be a multiplex with several residences, was uninhabited.

Google Maps
Google Maps

Lillian Quewezance said the loud blast scared her and others in her house, which she estimates is about three houses away from the building that exploded.

She said her granddaughter was crying and people were confused as to what had happened.

"When it happened, I heard things crashing to the floor," Quewezance said. "My mirror almost hit my granddaughter."

Quewezance said she saw smoke billowing up from the back of the building after the explosion.

SaskPower reported an outage in the area following the explosion, but power has since been restored.