Arson, disregard for life, charged after Woodbine explosion

A man has been arrested for arson and disregard for human life after an explosion and fire in a house on Woodbine Avenue late Friday afternoon.

Toronto police and Toronto Fire Services say they responded to a call for a fire and possible explosion on Nov. 27 shortly after 5 p.m. at 1150 Woodbine Ave., on the southwest corner with Queensdale Avenue.

People in the house and next door had self-evacuated, firefighters reported.

The fire was reportedly knocked down quickly but fire crews had to leave the building as it appeared unsafe.

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Officers determined an explosion had occurred, police media relations officer David Hopkinson said.

“A number of people suffered injuries as a result and were either treated on scene or taken to hospital,” Hopkinson said. “None of the injuries were life-threatening.”

Roads in the area were temporarily closed .

Many of the windows in the house seemed to be blown out and debris from inside the building was scattered on the ground outside.

The suspected cause of the fire or explosion has not been released by either police or fire investigators.

Woodbine explosion debris
DEBRIS from the explosion and fire remains outside Woodbine building.

Investigators have charged Johnathan Nicholson, 38, of Toronto, with two counts of arson – disregard for human life.

According to the Canadian Criminal Code, “arson — disregard for human life” is charged against anyone who “intentionally or recklessly causes damage by fire or explosion to property” when the person knows the property is occupied or when bodily harm is caused to another person.

It can carry a penalty of up to life imprisonment.

Nicholson was scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 28.

Police said the investigation is ongoing.