Nanaimo RCMP officers investigate a property on Pine Street the morning after a house exploded on Sunday, Feb. 27. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

Nanaimo RCMP officers investigate a property on Pine Street the morning after a house exploded on Sunday, Feb. 27. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

Nanaimo RCMP investigating gas explosion as a crime

Police appeal to the public for tips to help with case

RCMP are handling the investigation of a house explosion near Nanaimo’s downtown this week because there was a criminal element to the incident.

Police issued a press release Thursday, March 3, asking for any tips that will help in their investigation after a vacant house in the 300 block of Pine Street exploded the night of Sunday, Feb. 27.

“It’s evident that the explosion happened and most likely as a result of natural gas,” said reserve Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman. “The question is why it happened.”

He said police, firefighters and utility crews sifted through the rubble the day after the explosion.

“Fortunately there was nobody found in the debris,” O’Brien said.

But as part of the investigation and through consultation with partner agencies, he said police determined “there’s most likely criminality involved.”

“We’re looking at the totality of the evidence based on that it was a boarded-up house, nobody should be inside, the fact that we’ve attended to the house in the past for squatters,” O’Brien said.

He said RCMP are reviewing past police files related to the property and at the same time, are hoping to hear from anyone who might be able to provide information that could assist in the investigation.

“If somebody saw anything suspicious within 24-48 hours prior to that explosion – cars, people, noise from that home – we need to hear from those people,” he said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Nanaimo RCMP’s non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and quote file No. 2022-6847.

RELATED: House explodes in Nanaimo, injuring 6, none seriously

EDITORIAL: If you smell or hear gas escaping, get outside



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