Death of woman at scene of Kitchener house explosion ruled a homicide: police

WATCH: Police announced late Thursday afternoon the house explosion in Kitchener is now being treated as a criminal investigation. Neighbours say they are shocked the death of the woman found at the house is now considered a homicide.

Waterloo police say the death of a woman at the site of a house explosion on Wednesday is being treated as a homicide.

Police said 58-year-old Edra Haan was found dead in the backyard of a Kitchener home after an explosion that destroyed the residence just after 8 a.m..

“With the assistance of the coroner’s office and as a result of the post mortem and with the information from our major crime investigators, we have determined that Ms. Haan’s death is the result of a homicide,” Waterloo Insp. Mike Haffner said Thursday afternoon.

READ MORE:  Woman killed, man airlifted to hospital after explosion levels Kitchener home

Police said a 58-year-old man who also lived in the residence remains in hospital with serious injuries.

Police did not not say whether the man was a suspect or if they had any other suspects at this time.

WATCH: The death of woman at scene of Kitchener house explosion ruled a homicide by Waterloo Regional Police

“At this point, we are investigating the circumstances and we await for that individual to come out of hospital so that we can question that individual in relation to the circumstances of this explosion,” Haffner said.

Police said it is also unclear at this point whether the woman died before or after the explosion.

WATCH: Death of woman at Kitchener house explosion site now a criminal investigation. Katherine Ward reports.

“The difficulty we’re having right now is the scene needs to be maintained safe for our investigators, as well as the Ontario’s Office of the Fire Marshal, to access. At which point, in conjunction with the coroner’s office, I’m sure a determination of the time of death will be made,” Haffner said.

Testing is underway at the site of the explosion, but fire officials said that they may not have answers as to the cause until this weekend.

“It is too early right now to speculate on cause,” Kitchener Deputy Fire Chief Rob Martin said during a noon-hour update Thursday.

“Our aim is to complete the investigation by this weekend,” he provided.

Martin explained that the process for the investigation is to work from the outside inwards, meaning they seek answers from  the exterior of the home before they enter and investigate the epicenter of the incident.

WATCH: 1 dead, 1 critically injured after house explosion in Kitchener

The deputy fire chief said they have completed testing on the ground outside the home to see if there are any gas leaks.

“Ground testing has been completed and what that looks for is migrating gas in the ground and the infrastructure testing has been completed and that looks at all the infrastructure that supports the gas supply to the residences,” he explained.  “All that testing has been completed and there have been negative results which means there were no leaks.”

That does not rule out the cause as being a gas leak, however, as they will still need to conduct testing on the interior of the home.

Heavy equipment trucks arrived on scene Thursday afternoon so that investigators could dismantle the home and begin to reconstruct the scene.

WATCH: More from Wednesday

There are currently 16 homes that have been evacuated as a result of the explosion.

On Wednesday, Kitchener Fire Chief Jon Rehill said that the damage was into seven figures.

Martin said they are hoping to allow some of the displaced residents back into their homes Thursday.

WATCH: Kitchener Deputy Fire Chief Rob Martin provided an update Thursday afternoon

“Our hope is that around the dinner hour, we will be able to open the (south side) to pedestrian traffic only,” he explained. “So the residents will be able to walk in and return to their homes.”

Neighbours identified Haan as the woman who was killed in the explosion and her husband Udo as the man who was airlifted to hospital.

The pair both worked for Sun Life Financial. The company released a statement of regret.

“We are deeply saddened to learn from family about the sudden passing of Edra Haan and the critical injuries sustained to her husband, Udo Haan, who remains in hospital,” the statement read. “As valued members of the Sun Life team, our heartfelt condolences and thoughts go out to their families, friends and colleagues.”

WATCH: Neighbour captures dramatic moments following explosion in Kitchener

Investigators said the woman’s body and the injured man were found in the rubble behind the home, and a dead dog was spotted inside.

Two neighbouring homes were significantly damaged and fire officials said the residents will not be able to return any time soon.

*With files from Global News’ Katherine Ward

 

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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