Whitby home exploded during attempt at making cannabis oil: police
Rachael D'Amore, CTV News Toronto
Published Thursday, November 8, 2018 9:39AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, November 8, 2018 2:27PM EST
The investigation continues Thursday into an explosion in Whitby that badly damaged a home and left three men injured.
Officers were called to a residence on Cedar Street, near Garden and Dundas streets, at around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday for reports of an explosion.
Three men were rescued from the home by firefighters and taken to hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
Police say they believe the explosion was caused by one of the men trying to chemically create oil from marijuana using butane.
A 48-year-old resident of the home, identified Thursday as Jody Cormier, has been charged with arson with disregard for human life, criminal negligence and altering cannabis with organic solvent.
He was released from police custody on a promise to appear in court at a later date.
Police have described the ordeal as an “isolated incident.”
The blast scattered debris from the badly damaged home across the yard.
One side of the structure appeared to be blown open.
Neighbours compared the sound of the explosion to that of a bomb.
“There was a big, huge boom and then everything started falling off the house,” one resident, who did not provide her name, told CP24.
“The roof was going, windows were popping…”
Andrea Gaynor with the Ontario Fire Marshal said the home is not structurally safe and will likely need to be demolished.
“I also spoke to the insurance company this morning and they’re going to have to provide an excavator or something for us because we’re going to have to take down one wall,” she said. “The last thing we need is the wall to fall down.”
Gaynor said investigators believe they’re dealing with a fuel-type of explosion, based on the “pushing and shoving” caused to the walls of the home, but that the investigation is ongoing.
“It could be natural gas, it could be butane, it could be a lot of different things,” she said. “So we have to go through the process.”
The Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) attended the property last night to ensure that “migrant gases” did not seep into the ground, creating unsafe conditions for neighbours.
A number of pets were inside the home at the time of the explosion.
One of which, a large pot-bellied pig named “Bentley,” roamed around the property Thursday morning, curious of the news crews and investigators that had showed up.
The pig’s owner, Johnna Yurkovich, rents the upstairs portion of the home. The single mother now needs to find a place her family – and the pig -- to live.
“I just want to make sure he is safe and won’t be eaten because he is family,” Yurkovich said. “He is four and he is funny, he is happy, he runs around, he will cuddle with you. He is the sweetest pig ever.”
The young woman said she was stunned to learn it was the home that exploded in her neighbourhood was hers.
“I almost collapsed,” Yurkovich said.
“I was like, ‘That’s my house… What do I do? Where are my animals?’ It was a very scary situation.”