Parkdale explosion caused by chemicals used to produce drugs: police

Toronto police say an explosion in a Parkdale apartment building on Saturday was caused by the mishandling of chemicals used in the production of drugs.

Man, woman charged in blast in a 19th floor apartment unit, both due in court in March

An explosion shattered windows at an apartment located at 105 West Lodge Ave. in Toronto on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (CBC)

Toronto police say an explosion on the top floor of a Parkdale apartment building on Saturday was caused by the mishandling of chemicals used in the production of drugs.

Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook, spokesperson for the Toronto Police Service, said police have determined that the chemicals, which they called combustibles, were not handled properly on Saturday afternoon in a nineteenth floor unit at 105 West Lodge Avenue, near Seaforth Avenue.

The mishandling caused a chemical reaction in the high-rise building, north of Queen Street West and Lansdowne Avenue. Two people were injured while inside the unit and charged in the explosion. No one else was injured.

Douglas-Cook said police are not releasing the type of drug that was being produced, but said the two were allegedly trying to produce what she called drug derivatives.

Police received several calls about the explosion at after 3:15 p.m. Windows of the unit were blown out and glass, window frames and blinds landed on the ground outside in the centre of the apartment complex.

"People were reporting it from far away. It's fortunate that nobody else was hurt. There was a large debris field at ground level," she said.

Douglas-Cook said the apartment unit itself sustained significant damage. Pieces of the window landed in a tree.

The two people, a 53-year-old woman and a 43-year-old man, both of Toronto, were arrested, taken to hospital where they were treated for minor burns, released from hospital, and charged. The two were occupants of the unit.

Both were charged with production of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, arson by negligence and common nuisance.

Douglas-Cook said the two were not held overnight and are due to appear in court at Old City Hall on March 29.

Captain Michael Westwood, spokesperson for Toronto Fire Services, said Sunday that a dog was also injured in the blast and its fur was singed. 

There was no fire in the unit.

Initially, 12 trucks and 45 firefighters responded to the call, he said, but it was quickly apparent that the damage was done by the time that fire crews arrived.

"It didn't require any firefighting," he said.

"It was an explosion. There was some smoke. Some debris fell out. I believe the damage was contained to the unit."

Ontario's Office of the Fire Marshal is investigating.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-1100, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).