Edmonton·Video

Propane leak suspected in Cooking Lake house explosion, fire official says

A house explosion near Cooking Lake, Alta., that killed a 39-year-old woman may have been caused by a propane leak, fire officials say.

'We do know that the house was heated with propane, and it was not attached to the gas line'

Investigators survey the rubble after Sunday's explosion in a home at Paso Valley Estates near Cooking Lake. (Sam Martin/CBC)

A house explosion near Cooking Lake, Alta., that killed a 39-year-old woman may have been caused by a propane leak, fire officials say.

The explosion happened at about 2 p.m. on Sunday in a home near Range Road 224 and Township Road 513.

Strathcona County Emergency Services arrived to find the home demolished, with debris scattered across the property, including 2x4 boards on the roof of the neighbouring home.

A piece of wood stuck in the roof of a home next to the site of Sunday's explosion. (Sam Martin/CBC)

Emergency crews rescued a 60-year-old man, who suffered burns and was transported to an Edmonton hospital.

The body of a 39-year-old woman was pulled from the rubble.

"To our crews, it appeared she had suffered trauma from the explosion," said Tim Moen, deputy chief of Strathcona County Emergency Services.

A pile of rubble is all that remains of a home in Paso Valley Estates after an explosion Sunday afternoon. (Sam Martin/CBC)

Fire investigators and the RCMP continue to investigate the cause of explosion.

"We do know that the house was heated with propane, and it was not attached to the gas line, gas utility," said Moen. "So there's speculation that it may have been a propane explosion. But it's too early to tell."

The condition of the roof after an explosion can tip off investigators about a possible gas or propane explosion, said Moen. In a gas explosion, the roof is usually blown to pieces, while that doesn't happen with a propane explosion.

"Typically, [with propane] we see the walls get blown out and the roof often remains intact," he said. "This is consistent with a propane explosion. But again, it's too early to tell exactly what caused it."

Moen said it's only the second such explosion he's aware of in Strathcona County over the past 25 years.

'It's just a tragedy'

3 years ago
Duration 0:35
Former tenant Gaetan Lessard was shocked to learn the Cooking Lake home he once lived exploded on Sunday, killing one and injuring another. 0:35

Gaetan Lessard said he rented half of the home for seven years before he moved out three years ago. He referred to the injured man as a friend.

"Always working," Lessard said of the man." Starting a new life with his new wife from the Philippines."

On Monday, Lessard was at the property to pay his respects to the woman who died in the explosion.

"Like any tragedy, loss of life makes you reflect," he said.

Travis.mcewan@cbc.ca

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Travis McEwan

Videojournalist

Travis McEwan is an award-winning video journalist. Originally from Churchill, Man., he's spent the last decade working at CBC Edmonton. Email story ideas to travis.mcewan@cbc.ca

With files from Nola Keeler

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