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Family says thief used Calgary explosion damage to break into home next door days after blast

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Only days after an explosion next door blasted open the walls of their home, a Calgary family says a thief took advantage, entering their house to steal valuables. 

Barb Caswell says her parents’ home was one of two residences severely damaged when a home exploded Monday morning in the northeast community of Marlborough. 

While authorities had fenced off the homes nearest the explosion site, a thief was still able to sneak into her parents’ home in the middle of the day and steal jewelery and other valuables, she said. 

“To get this robbery on top of everything else, it’s heartbreaking,” Caswell said. “It makes you angry.” 

The Calgary Police Service said it is investigating the break-in, adding that officers responded Thursday afternoon to the home on the 700 block of Maryvale Way N.E.

By the time officers arrived at the scene, no one was in the home.

A fire engine and several vehicles surround an area where large flames are burning and sending thick black smoke into the snow-filled air.
The explosion injured 10 people, nine of whom remain in hospital. (Submitted by Michelle Van Ree)

Caswell said her parents were out of town at the time of the explosion, but she noted their bedroom wall was the one nearest the blast site. 

The explosion injured 10 men who were inside the house that blew up. As of Thursday, nine of them remained in hospital, with three still sedated in intensive care. 

According to community members, the victims’ injuries range from broken bones to severe burns. While all are expected to survive, they face a long road to recovery, both physically and financially. 

Community members are working to raise funds and supplies for the victims. A donation drive is scheduled for Saturday at the Forest Lawn Community Association.

WATCH | Security camera captures video of Marlborough house explosion:

family says thief used calgary explosion damage to break into home next door days after blast 1

Security video of Malborough explosion

4 days ago

Duration 0:19

Surveillance video sent to CBC News shows a large fireball from a house explosion that took place Monday morning in Marlborough.

Caswell said one of her parents’ neighbours called her after the explosion. She returned to her childhood home to find it surrounded by fire engines with debris scattered everywhere.

“Quite the sight,” she said.

Caswell said her parents have been staying with friends as they speak with insurance agents and contractors.

“They have to shore up the whole one side [of the house] before we can really go and remove any personal belongings from the home,” she said. 

Fire officials suspect the explosion was caused by natural gas. However, a full investigation into the home’s appliances isn’t expected to be completed for weeks. 

Police said there is no criminal investigation connected with the home explosion.