Ottawa

Huge explosion flattens house, garage in Greely, Ont.

A house and a garage were flattened and a barn was damaged by fire after an explosion in Greely, Ont., just south of Ottawa, on Thursday night.

Loud boom heard by residents as far as 25 kilometres away

Greely fire, explosion called suspicious

Ottawa

7 years ago
2:22
A massive fire and explosion that shook homes for kilometres around is being looked at by arson investigators. 2:22

A house and a garage were flattened and a barn was damaged by fire after an explosion in Greely, Ont., just south of Ottawa, on Thursday night that shook nearby homes.

"[I was] cooking supper, looking out the window, and all of a sudden the explosion hit and it sounded like a plane was hitting the building or a bomb had gone off," said neighbour Robert Roberts.

Jeremy Nehme, who lives two doors down from the explosion site, took this photo of the ensuing fire after the blast. (Jeremy Nehme)
"It just about popped my windows in. Literally three inches they pushed in and out, and I know that because I was looking right at them when it happened. And then it was just incineration across the street."

People living as far as 25 kilometres away heard the explosion, and residents began calling the fire department at about 8:30 p.m. ET.

The explosion occurred about 30 kilometres south of Ottawa​ at 1934 Stagecoach Rd., a 62-hectare property south of Mitch Owens Road and north of Old Prescott Road.

Fire department spokesman Marc Messier said the steel barn remained standing, but was damaged in the fire. Debris was strewn across the property.

The Ottawa police arson unit is investigating, Messier said, with help from the Office of the Fire Marshal of Ontario as well as local firefighters.

Vehicles raced away seconds after blast

Roberts told CBC News he saw two cars quickly leave the property about 30 seconds after the first blast.

"We jumped outside right away, and there was probably three or four more explosions right after that, things blowing up. It's pretty strange. I'm a builder, and there's no way that place can blow up like that," Roberts said.

"Two cars took off out of here like a bat out of hell. All we saw was the lights coming down the laneway, and they just took off," Roberts said.

There were no reports of injuries or casualties, but fire crews couldn't be sure on Thursday night, Messier said.

"We can't say that 100 per cent just yet. I know we've checked the perimeter and we've checked the area nearby, but like I said, the buildings are down to the ground. So until we can get in there and start sifting through, we can't confirm that 100 per cent."

Firefighters in the nearby village of Greely said they heard the explosion, which they initially thought was a vehicle hitting their fire station, Messier said.

'The house legitimately shook,' neighbour says

Jeremy Nehme says his house shook from the blast two doors away from his home. (CBC)
Glenn Powers, who lives about 20 to 25 kilometres away from the incident, said he was out taking pictures when he heard a "huge explosion."

"Probably more of a cannon, like a large cannon, something really, really, really loud," said Powers. "You could tell it was quite far away, too. It was surprising to hear something that loud.… I was kind of worried."

Jeremy Nehme lives two houses down from the explosion site.

"I was watching the Sens [Ottawa Senators NHL] game, actually, it had just started. And then the house shook, I got up and looked outside, and there was a big explosion like, right behind our house. The house legitimately shook. It was a big shake," Nehme said.

"There was just huge flames you could see a couple minutes after. The house was completely gone."

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