Gas leak caused explosion that killed man, levelled Toronto home: investigator

Investigators say a gas leak caused a massive explosion that levelled a house in northeast Toronto killing one man inside, but they don’t know what kind of flammable fuel was involved or where it came from.

TORONTO — Investigators say a gas leak caused a massive explosion that levelled a house in northeast Toronto killing one man inside, but they don’t know what kind of flammable fuel was involved or where it came from.

At least 40 more homes in the area were damaged in Monday’s blast and paramedics said a person from an adjacent house was treated for minor hand injuries.

Wayne Romaine, an investigator with the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office, said crews are asking nearby residents whether they smelled gas before the explosion.

“We’re looking for migrant gases — is it possible that we have migrant gases that have come through the soil and into the basement,” he said in a news conference on Tuesday.

“We’re looking for any type of indication as to the type of fuel that might be involved.”

Crews are combing through the rubble for evidence and have brought in a cadaver dog to search for any other people who may have been hurt.

Investigators are expected to be at the site until Friday.

Police have identified a man who was pulled from the wreckage Monday as Paul Zigomanis. Romaine says he was found at the back of the house and pronounced dead at the scene.

Toronto Fire Capt. Adrian Ratushniak says several homes in the immediate area were evacuated and the area was closed to traffic.

Photographs of the scene show nothing but rubble left from the house that stood two-storeys tall. Debris was scattered over hundreds of metres, some of it hanging from trees and on neighbouring houses.

Romaine says there is little fire damage to the debris, which suggests the fuel was spent after the explosion.