Occupants of house that exploded in Winnipeg found safe, police say

The father and daughter who lived in the house that exploded in Winnipeg on Wednesday were not inside at the time and have been found safe, police say.

But answers about what caused the catastrophic explosion that rained down debris across a neighbourhood in Transcona could still be weeks or months away, Winnipeg Police Service spokesperson Const. Jason Michalyshen said.

“Obviously we’re 24 hours into this investigation — very, very early stages,” he told reporters on a street near the explosion site on Thursday.

“We’re doing everything in our power to determine what was the cause. Houses don’t just explode, there is a reason for it. And what that reason is is yet to be determined.”

Michalyshen said police are speaking with the people who lived in the house as part of the investigation and also want to speak with anyone who saw or heard anything that might help determine what happened.

Crews were called to the scene on Camrose Bay in the Transcona area around 11:15 a.m. Wednesday, after a blast that destroyed one house and significantly damaged several others around it, Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service deputy chief Scott Wilkinson said that day.

While there were no reports of injuries to anyone in the neighbouring homes, several were too damaged for people to return to live in them, Wilkinson said.

Few houses had to be evacuated, he said, and most people were able to shelter in place as crews worked to put out the fires that had started as a result of the explosion.

The fire paramedic service’s accelerant detection dog was on scene helping investigators.