Exploding house likely hash-oil lab

A townhouse on Southdale Rd. E. is badly damaged after an explosion ripped through the unit on...

A townhouse on Southdale Rd. E. is badly damaged after an explosion ripped through the unit on Friday. Police found evidence of a drug lab at the scene. MORRIS LAMONT / THE LONDON FREE PRESS / QMI AGENCY

Kate Dubinski, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:22 PM ET

LONDON, Ont. — Six families have been displaced after a weekend blast at a public housing complex where police suspect one home was being used as a hash-oil cookhouse.

They'd earlier believed it to be a meth lab.

Police are still looking for a man seen running from the townhouse before it exploded Friday night, causing about $500,000 damage.

On Monday, residents of the townhouse complex said the unit which exploded was occupied by a woman and her young children who had been gone all summer on vacation.

A man periodically came to the home while the woman was gone, neighbours said.

Police are looking for the tenant of the unit.

"We're not sure where she is or what she knows," Matthew said.

Police said they found evidence of a marijuana oil-extraction operation in the remnants of the rental unit. That means someone was converting marijuana into something else in a dangerous and illegal process involving butane gas.

That particular housing complex is geared to families -- tenants of the townhomes must have children onsite to live there, said Steve Matthew, the housing agency's executive director.

"I'm just very glad that no one was hurt or killed," he said. "We now have six families that are displaced. They obviously can't go in to get their ID, their toothbrushes, any of that until the engineers determine the extent of the structural damage."

"We're getting them moved into new units right away, but they don't have anything to move in with."

Residents haven't been allowed back into their units since Saturday.


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