Kitchener-Waterloo

'No further concern for public safety' after man dies in Kitchener car explosion

Police suspect the blast was caused by an improvised explosive device and that the man who died in the car was responsible for the explosion.

Police believe the person in the vehicle was responsible for the explosion

Supt. Eugene Fenton of the Waterloo Regional Police Service talks on CBC News Network about a fatal car explosion from a suspected improvised explosive device in downtown Kitchener, Ont. 5:57

Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) said it has "cleared" two residences in Kitchener, Ont., one on Hearthwood Drive and the other on Grand Flats Trail, associated with the investigation of a man who died in a car explosion Friday morning in the city's downtown.

"Nothing of concern was found at either of those residences, and at this point we have no further concern for public safety," Supt. Eugene Fenton of the Investigative Services Division of WRPS, told CBC News Network Friday night.

Police said they suspected the blast was caused by an improvised explosive device (IED), and explosives disposal teams from both the WRPS and nearby Peel Regional Police were involved in the investigation. 

A vehicle is covered by a tarp in front of the Kitchener, Ont., courthouse after police responded to reports of an explosion Friday morning. (Joe Pavia/CBC)

When asked about the identity of the man and the circumstances of the explosion and death, Fenton said, "Perhaps the terms 'victim' or 'suspect' are not appropriate. We believe the person deceased in the vehicle is responsible for the explosion."

He said that "I have no information on the motive."

The car was parked in front of the Waterloo Region Courthouse on Duke Street. Homes and businesses in the area along Frederick Street, Scott Street, Duke Street and Weber Street were evacuated midday Friday as a precaution, police said.

Fenton also told CBC, "At this point, we have no information to believe [the incident] is connected to the courthouse."

The area remains a crime scene investigation. Later Friday, the vehicle was partially covered by a tent, obscuring it from view.

The burned-out Chevrolet is shown in front of the Waterloo Region Courthouse on Duke Street. Homes and businesses in the area were evacuated midday Friday as a precaution, police said. The area remains a crime scene investigation. (Joe Pavia/CBC)
Police searched two Kitchener residences connected to the man who was inside the car, seen here after the explosion. (Jeremy Cohn)

Fenton said the investigation may take several days or even weeks to complete — and even then there may remain unanswered questions.

"Ultimately the only person who will know exactly what occurred is the person who is, unfortunately, deceased."

By Friday evening police had partially covered the wrecked vehicle at the suspected IED site. (Joe Pavia/CBC)

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