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article imageExplosion in London, Ontario destroys home, damages seven others

By Karen Graham     Aug 15, 2019 in World
A woman has been charged with impaired driving after a vehicle slammed into a home in London, Ontario and hit a gas line, causing a major explosion that injured six first responders and one civilian and sent residents fleeing from their homes.
Officials say at least seven, and as many as 10, homes sustained damages in the explosion Wednesday night on Woodman Avenue near Dundas Street, east of the downtown core.
Police say they were called to a house on Woodman Avenue near Queens Avenue at about 10:40 p.m. after a vehicle driving the wrong way on Queens Avenue had struck a house, according to CBC.
In an early morning press conference today, London Police Chief Steve Williams said when officers arrived two minutes after the call, it was immediately evident the vehicle had struck a house and a gas line. The driver of the vehicle, the lone occupant, was taken into custody on suspicion of impaired driving.
About 12 minutes later, while firefighters and police were still on the scene, there was a massive explosion. The home that was hit by the vehicle erupted in a fireball, Tyler Bilyea told CTV News. He was three houses down from the site of the accident.
"The building blew sky high, glass coming out from other buildings,” he said. “It was a fireball.” Michael Peckham, another neighbor, said he ran out of his house when he heard the vehicle slam into the house. He said he saw the woman behind the wheel of the vehicle, and she appeared to be unconscious.
"There's debris everywhere, windows are shattered. We watched the roof fly higher than the trees on the street. The sound was extremely loud. You could feel the explosion go right through you," said witness Krystina Curtis.
The driver of the vehicle, Daniella Alexandra Leis, 23, of Kitchener, has been charged with four counts of impaired operation causing bodily harm and impaired operation with a blood-alcohol concentration above the legal limit, reports Global News.
Acting Deputy Fire Chief Jack Burt said crews were dealing with multiple structure fires overnight and 100 homes were evacuated. "We also have a significant debris field from an explosion that actually goes over more than a block area at this point," he said.
This is the breakdown of injuries caused by the explosion and fire:
*Four firefighters were hurt. Three have since been released from the hospital and one remains in hospital in serious but stable condition.
*Two police officers were also taken to hospital, but have since been released.
*A civilian was taken to hospital. That person's condition is not known.
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