Debris is shown following a house explosion in Kitchener, Ont., on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Kitchener Fire Department

Death of woman found after house explosion was a homicide: police

Ontario police found the woman in her backyard after the explosion

A woman whose body was found after a house explosion in southwestern Ontario died as a result of a homicide, police said Thursday.

Waterloo regional police said 58-year-old Edresilda Haan was found dead in the backyard of a Kitchener, Ont., home after a blast that destroyed the residence and damaged nearby homes on Wednesday morning.

Insp. Mike Haffner said the coroner’s office determined that Haan’s death was a result of a homicide. He said the cause and time of her death have not yet been determined.

“We can’t provide any further information as the investigation is in its infancy and is continuing, however we are confident that her death is a result of a homicide,” said Haffner.

Haffner also said that the man that was seriously injured in the explosion is 58 years old and lived at the residence. He said police would not be identifying the man at this time, but that he remains in hospital with serious injuries.

RELATED: Neighbouring houses in Penticton go up in flames

Haan’s brother, Al Pinheiro, identified the man as her husband Udo Haan. Haffner said police have not yet spoken to him because they are waiting for him to be released from hospital.

“We are looking forward to speaking with that individual, but at this point he is not a suspect,” Haffner said.

Haffner didn’t say whether police had a suspect and said he wouldn’t be providing any further details.

Neighbours said the couple had lived in the home with their two dogs, one of which was found dead after the blast. The other dog was handed over to a local humane society.

Pinheiro said his sister was a loving mother, sister, daughter and wife, noting that she and her husband had two adult children.

“Edra was a very giving, very unselfish person,” Pinheiro said in a statement. “As a sister, she was somebody I looked up to. Someone who put her family ahead of herself.”

Wednesday’s explosion started a fire and levelled the home on a quiet residential street. Parts of the roof were blown to the ground and charred wood and other debris was scattered in the area.

Haffner said he is asking anyone with information to contact police.

RELATED: Three injured after industrial explosion in Newfoundland

Deputy Fire Chief Rob Martin said on Thursday that the investigation into what caused the blast — which also prompted the evacuation of 16 nearby homes — was ongoing.

“We are focusing on restoring the neighbourhood so that the residents that are displaced can return,” said Martin, adding that authorities are working to secure the utilities on the street and ensuring that there are no leaks to the hydro, water and gas lines.

“We’re just hoping to return some normalcy to the neighbourhood.”

Investigators are still sifting through the rubble of the destroyed home and working their way in to the centre of the site, Martin said.

Fire Chief Jon Rehill said he estimates the damage to the home and others homes on the street to be worth “millions.”

The Canadian Press

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