Fire investigators

Cause of gas leak, explosion at Red Deer home still unknown

It may be a couple of weeks before fire investigators have any definite answers as to what caused the gas leak and subsequent explosion and fire in a Red Deer home on Saturday morning.

It may be a couple of weeks before fire investigators have any definite answers as to what caused the gas leak and subsequent explosion and fire in a Red Deer home on Saturday morning.

The entire interior of a house at 530 Wishart St. was destroyed after gas ignited shortly after 7:12 a.m.

Two young adults called emergency crews after awakening to the smell of gas in the house. They escaped with little time to spare before the home burst into flames. No one was injured.

A structural engineer looked over the home on Monday and determined it was not safe for crews to go back in to investigate.

“He’s going to go back to the other engineers and see if we need to shore it up or tear the top floor off,” said fire investigator Steve Gailloux. “We need to gain access to the basement but right now that main floor isn’t sound enough. It’s a mess in there and looks like it could fall over.”

The homeowners were away with their two daughters at the time of the incident. Their son was home with a friend.

Based on interviews with the young man and his friend, it is believed the leak came from the basement utility room, Gailloux said.

“It could have been near the water heater, near any one of those pipes in there.”

The house, worth approximately $580,000, is “definitely a write-off,” said Gailloux, noting there was fire in various places in the house.

The family spent the last few days in hotels and is working with their insurance company, looking for a place to rent.

It would be a year at least to rebuild, he said.

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