Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

An explosion on Bates Crescent demolished a house at about 5:30 this morning. The remains of the house are seen on the left. Neighbouring homes sustained some damage, with the one on the right significantly damaged.

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

A walker with a dog are silhouetted walking through debris in front of the house.

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

City of Whitehorse firefighters work at the scene this morning.

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

Another angle on the damage of the destroyed house.

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

Nearby houses and properties were damaged.

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

NEARBY HOME IMPACTED – Michael McIsaac’s and his partner’s house across the street from the explosion site sustained serious damage. Above, it’s seen before the damaged bay window was covered with a tarpaulin (below).

‘We thought an earthquake at first’

An explosion in Riverdale early this morning has levelled one house and damaged at least three others, killing one person and sending another to the hospital.

By Mark Page on November 14, 2023

An explosion in Riverdale early this morning has levelled one house and damaged at least three others, killing one person and sending another to the hospital.

The house at 17 Bates Cres. was reduced to a pile of rubble and broken timber in the blast.

Deputy Fire Chief Jason Wolsky said officials believe the injured person was in the home where the explosion occurred, while the deceased was in a neighbouring house.

The late resident’s name has not been released.

According to the Yukon Land Title registry, the house at 17 Bates Cres. belongs to Timothy, a well-known longtime lawyer in Whitehorse, and Hilary Preston.

A Whitehorse General Hospital spokesperson confirmed to the Star that Timothy Preston was admitted to the hospital this morning.

The Star’s request for an update on his condition was denied by the family.

A statement from the City of Whitehorse said the injured person has “critical injuries.”

The blast occurred at about 5:30 a.m.

The cause is still under investigation by the Whitehorse Fire Department and the RCMP, according to Wolsky.

A Facebook post from the City of Whitehorse shortly after 8 a.m. said they do not believe there is any further risk to public safety.

Mayor Laura Cabott called the explosion “devastating and a shock to the community” in an interview with the Star this morning.

The power was also knocked out to 40 area homes by “flying debris,” according to ATCO Electric Yukon manager Tony Badry.

It was restored to most by 10:30 a.m.

In an email to the Star, Badry said four homes still did not have power as of late this morning and will require an electrical inspection first to ensure safety.

Wolsky said he expects the crescent to be closed to non-residents for a few days as officials conduct their investigation.

They first need to get an idea of how big the blast actually was.

“We are going to get some aerial images of it to see the blast radius,” he said.

After that, they try to build a picture of what happened.

“Well, it’ll start with interviewing any potential witnesses… looking into the history of the house, or the construction, talking to any neighbours,” Wolsky said, “and then we’ll slowly pull the scene apart to see if we can determine what caused the explosion.”

Felt like an ‘earthquake’

Michael McIsaac lives across the street and was taping tarps around his windows this morning after they were damaged in the blast.

At first, he didn’t think it was an explosion.

“We felt a shake — we thought an earthquake at first — and so we gathered ourselves and looked outside and realized that our neighbours’ two-storey house is now just a pile of rubble,” McIsaac said.

It took McIsaac a few minutes to make sure his own house was even safe enough to move around in.

“The big bay window, it actually has come out from the building and most of the glass is shattered, so we’ve had a lot of structural damage,” he said.

“The structural integrity of the house we’re not sure about at this time — a lot of the doors won’t close, a lot of the walls are slanted.”

Despite what he’s dealing with, McIsaac said his thoughts are with the neighbours across the street.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with them and their family, and what they must be going through is a lot worse than what we’re going through,” he said.

Comments (8)

Up 0 Down 0

Bethoughtful on Nov 17, 2023 at 5:55 pm

@YT. That phrase need not be said at all, when there has been any sort of tragedy or bad thing happen to anyone. They are invalidating and useless words.

Up 9 Down 9

Bandit on Nov 17, 2023 at 6:02 am

I agree with you but I have commented on this site many times as well as voting thumbs up or down and for example I would vote thumbs up and have the equal amount of thumbs down added at the same time? A Glitch hopefully.

Up 6 Down 11

Joe on Nov 16, 2023 at 5:04 pm

@YT. Many people feel it could have been better.

Up 40 Down 18

Yukon56 on Nov 15, 2023 at 2:25 pm

How can these cold hearted people give a thumbs down to anything about this they should be ashamed

Up 55 Down 17

YT on Nov 15, 2023 at 1:23 pm

I noticed 10 people didn’t approve of my comment
I live very near to where this happened, and when I say it could have been worse, I’m not being flippant. I’m not dismissing what happened, but I’d this had happened at 8:30, there would have been more, perhaps much more injuries or fatalities. The street wolf have been busy, there would have been children using the foot path adjacent to the property as they walked to school, more folks walking about.
It literally could have been horrendous.

Up 53 Down 11

Josey Wales on Nov 15, 2023 at 8:57 am

Condolences to the person, through no fault of their own....will be absent from family and friends and one less in our community.
That said I hope the injured heals up too, mentally and physically.

Up 103 Down 8

Nathan Living on Nov 14, 2023 at 3:27 pm

Very sad, I hope the injured man fully recovers.

Up 101 Down 26

YT on Nov 14, 2023 at 2:11 pm

A tragedy, but it could have been much, much worse.
Condolences to the deceaseds family and a speedy recovery to Mr Preston.
Many thanks to Whitehorse emergency services for their prompt response and professionalism. It went a long way to ease residents shattered nerves.
Last and certainly not least, many thanks to Atcos crews for getting the power back on quickly.

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