Gloria Porter said her red-faced nephew handed her the dog and told her his furnace had exploded and it was “a hell of a mess.”
Living two houses down from her nephew’s home, Porter said she didn’t feel the ground shake or hear anything that sounded like an explosion early Feb. 24, but she did hear sirens and see flashing lights when emergency crews arrived on scene.
“Everybody got out good. Thank God,” she said.
Broken windows and doors hanging off hinges were signs something went very wrong overnight at a one-storey home.
“What you can see outside really doesn’t tell the tale,” Waterville and District Fire Chief Wayne Johnstone said just after 9 a.m.
“It’s devastating… It rearranged the structure of the building.”
An explosion ripped through the house, accompanied by a small fire and a large amount of smoke, Johnstone said. Firefighters extinguished the blaze and evacuated six people: three adults and three children.
They were fortunate to escape, Johnstone said, adding he was surprised the outcome was not worse than it was.
“I’ve been firefighting for 40 years and I’ve never seen anything like this.”
All six people were sent to hospital – four by ambulance – but, as of 9:30 a.m., RCMP Const. Kelli Gaudet says, five people have been released. One adult male is still in hospital being treated for non-life-threatening injuries, she said.
Around noon, provincial fire marshal Harold Pothier arrived on scene to assist the fire department with the investigation.
Although he originally believed that the explosion was gas related, he said the investigation determined a combination oil and wood-burning furnace had overheated and ruptured due to human error.