Police are investigating after an explosion tore apart a residence in Brantford, Ont., on Thursday afternoon.

The explosion occurred at a split-level home on Ruffian Road shortly after 2 p.m., in the north end of the city.

It's believed that up to 10 nearby homes may have also been damaged with six of those suffering severe damage, according to Mayor Chris Friel and the Brantford Fire Department.

Officials are investigating if the explosion was caused by a gas leak, and have shut off the gas supply as a precaution.

Witnesses said one person may have been injured and a woman who lived in the house is unaccounted for.

Surrounding houses were evacuated as neighbours and onlookers gathered down the street.

Police are continuing to investigate the cause of the explosion.