UPDATE: 54-year-old man dead after home explosion in Caledon Sunday morning
"The house is absolutely gone, there's no other way to describe it."
Those are the words from OPP Const. Ian Michel, following a deadly home explosion early Sunday morning at 9 Maple Grove Road in Caledon, near Highway 10 and Charleston Side Road.
Several nearby properties were also damaged in the explosion, which shook the Caledon Village neighbourhood at about 6:20 a.m.
OPP has identified the victim as 54-year-old Joseph Westcott.
Orangeville.com reports Westcott had lived at the home since 2003 and was an industrial electrician, according to a LinkedIn profile believed to belong to him.
He was found at the scene with no vital signs and was pronounced dead.
About 10 to 15 nearby homes - housing about 30 to 35 people - had to be evacuated for safety reasons. Some had their garage doors dented in and their windows broken, while debris was spread over cars, roofs and lawns. As of Sunday evening, it wasn't known when they would be able to return.
Kuljot Singh, who works at a Petro Canada station close to the scene of the explosion told NEWSTALK 1010 a man who was next door came running towards him.
"He was like that did you hear that blast and I was like yeah, I felt that," Singh said. "The house just exploded near to the gas station."
Michel told our media partner CP24 that upon arrival, police and fire crews detected a definite sign of a gas leak. However, fire crews said it was too early in the investigation to determine if the leak caused the explosion or was a result of the incident.
"At this point, it's too early to speculate. We have very little details on what caused this," Caledon Fire Chief Darryl Bailey told reporters early Sunday afternoon, confirming that crews were finally able to stop the gas leak.
Const. Michel added the homes in and around the area could be out of commission for a few days.
"The blast site is going to create some traffic delays in the area," Michel said. "They're going to have to have engineers come in to take a look at those other houses surrounding it to determine if they're even going to be habitable in the future."
Bailey was in agreement Sunday afternoon.
"We can pretty much say the houses that have been immediately affected, [residents will be out] a couple of days this week - at least," he added.
The power and gas remain off to those homes pending a full inspection of their structures and foundations.
Later in the morning, Caledon mayor Allan Thompson confirmed there were no other casualties or injuries.
The Ontario Fire Marshal's office has been at the scene since Sunday afternoon.
A nearby church is serving as an evacuation centre for residents who have been displaced.
Charleston Side Road remains shut down from Highway 10 to Kennedy Road, while Maple Grove Road is closed from Charleston Side Road to Spruce Road.
- With files from Claude Feig, Siobhan Morris and Jackie Rosen
- with files from The Canadian Press