Police say the explosion that destroyed a building in downtown Prince George, B.C., last month was likely caused by “unauthorized” people who broke into the property and were unaware of a natural-gas buildup inside.
Prince George RCMP say fire investigators have determined there is evidence of copper pipe theft, causing damage to at least one natural gas line.
Police say numerous people were in the building over the course of the night on Aug. 22, but the person who set off the blast was “unaware at the time” of the buildup of natural gas in the building.
The explosion, which sent three people to hospital, happened at the building that was once a Greek restaurant in an area of the city where neighbours have said unhoused people had been lighting fires.
Investigators have determined the building was secured in the early evening of Aug. 21, but multiple people broke in afterwards.
Cpl. Jennifer Cooper says in a statement that the investigation is “incredibly complex” and it may take some time before more findings are released.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 7, 2023.