Firefighters in Regina are combing through the splintered remains of a multi-unit house checking for survivors after an explosion Sunday that was so loud, people in other parts of the city reported hearing it.
"We believe that everybody right now that lived in the property has been accounted for but ... we're searching the property completely with heavy equipment right now, pulling it apart piece by piece just to make sure nobody else was in the property," deputy fire chief Gord Hewitt said by phone Sunday evening.
The fire department said in a tweet late Sunday morning that a "major explosion" happened at the corner of 6th Avenue and Retallack Street, and police and emergency services were also at the scene.
A photo with the tweet showed a severely damaged home that appeared to have been lifted off its foundation. It said possible injuries were reported, but the department posted an update later in the afternoon that the injuries were minor and that people in the immediate area were being allowed to return home.
Hewitt said a person in a neighbouring building suffered minor injuries when the blast blew out a window.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority said in an email that no one was transported to hospital.
The cause of the blast has not yet been determined, Hewitt said.
Darlene Shepherd, who lives about two blocks away, said she was in bed when she heard a blast that "rocked the whole neighbourhood." Her nephew, Hawk Obey, was in the house, too, watching TV and they both looked at each other and wondered what had happened.
"I thought it was a car banging into a building but it was so, so powerful," Shepherd said, adding she heard sirens converge on the neighbourhood from every direction in the moments afterward.
"Everybody down the block came out and asked each other, 'What was that?'" Obey added.
Obey said the block around the explosion site was quickly sealed off by police, so he wasn't able to see any of the damage.
A number of people on social media have said they heard and felt the explosion in other parts of the city.
Hewitt said he didn't know how many units were in the property, but that there were multiple ones. There were very few flames and no fire threat throughout the afternoon, he noted, but numerous windows in the area were shattered and the multi-unit building next door is being checked for structural damage.
Security was to remain at the scene Sunday night, and Hewitt said the department and police were working with the community as people returned to the street, perhaps unaware of what happened earlier in the day.
Police have asked people to keep away and traffic remained restricted in the area.
Fire officials are planning a news conference Monday.