Family identifies woman who died in Kitchener, Ont., house explosion

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A woman who died after an explosion destroyed her home in Kitchener, Ont., was remembered by her brother on Thursday as a caring person who put the needs of her family above her own.

Police have not named the woman or a man who was critically injured in the blast that took place on Wednesday, but they were identified by family as Edra Haan and her husband Udo Haan.

Edra Haan’s brother, Al 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.”

Neighbours said the couple had lived in the home with their two dogs.

Wednesday’s early morning blast 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.

One neighbour who helped Udo Haan from the destroyed home after the blast said the man was badly burned.

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.”

Alanna Rizza, The Canadian Press