MISSISSAUGA, Ont. -- One person is dead and nine others suffered minor injuries in an explosion that levelled one home and damaged at least two dozen others in Mississauga, Ont., west of Toronto.

A Peel paramedic spokesman said Tuesday night that a woman died at the scene and another official said nine people were treated for minor injuries, but none had to be taken to hospital.

One house was destroyed by the blast and neighbouring homes show heavy damage, with debris spread over a wide area.

Police officers set up a large perimeter around the destroyed home and went door-to-door evacuating nearby residences.

Mississauga Fire Chief Tim Beckett told a news conference that an "outside perimeter" encompasses 700 addresses and anyone outside that area will not be allowed inside until the all-clear is given.

"We haven't evacuated that entire perimeter," explained Beckett. "If people are in there, they're to shelter in place or make arrangements to leave. Anybody that was outside the perimeter prior to the explosion is not allowed back into the perimeter for purposes of securing the area."

Beckett said it would likely be Wednesday morning before the size of the cordoned-off area is reduced, adding it was too early to say when all residents would be able to return home.

"It's going to be a long day tomorrow for investigators and until we deem that area safe for the public, there just won't be access. I can't predict if it's going to be hours, days or weeks at this time."

Pina Galea was one of those who wasn't allowed back to her house. She saw the blast in the distance as she was driving home.

"All I saw was this explosion and I said to myself, 'that's my house,"' Galea said at the scene Tuesday night.

Galea's house wasn't the one that exploded but she said it was heavily damaged. Her first instinct was to find her parents, who she located at a neighbour's.

Her father had been just about to head home to do some gardening when the explosion occurred.

"He could have been hit by that thing," a still-distraught Galea said, adding "a house can be replaced, but not a life."

She said she and her parents would be staying with her sister-in-law.

Galea and Chris Formosa, a 32-year-old who used to live in the neighbourhood, both said a man in his 40s or 50s and a woman lived in the house that exploded. Galea described the man as "very private."

"I'm really worried because a lot of elderly people live on this street," said Formosa, who said he went to the explosion site to see if he could offer any help.

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said gas and water were shut off to 58 homes in the area and between 50 and 100 people were evacuated.

Crombie said a reception centre was being set up at a nearby community centre, where evacuees would be provided with anything they need, including medications.

"We're going to encourage all those residents to move into the Burnhamthorpe Community Centre," Crombie said. "It'll be the safest, most comfortable place for them, get them off the street."

She said any residents with friends or family in the neighbourhood were being urged to seek shelter with them as it "may last more than one night, we don't know yet."

"It may have been a blessing that it was 4:23 p.m. and not a little bit later when more people arrived home from work," Crombie said. "We're hoping and praying at this time that it's limited to the one fatality."

A Peel Region spokeswoman said about 10 families had arrived at the community centre and concerned residents were showing up bringing items they thought the evacuees might need or to offer their help.

Mississauga resident Paula Sanabria, 29, and her family were among those who showed up to see if there was anything they could do to help.

"We felt it in our hearts to come and bring some water," Sanabria said.

Beckett earlier said one house was severely damaged due to an explosion, but it was too early to know what caused the blast.

"We have approximately 24 other homes in the area that have damage that ranges from very light damage to extreme damage," Beckett said.

"We have a large debris field in the area ... we've totally lost one home so you can just imagine."

Beckett said a heavy urban search and rescue team from neighbouring Toronto was on the scene to conduct a site assessment. He said the next step would involve shoring and other measures to enable crews to get into the damaged homes.

"We've obviously got some residual gas that remains trapped in pockets in some of these damaged homes. We definitely have collapsed homes and unstable homes, so until we can get people in to stabilize these things and shore them up, there's no human access going into them.

"The area is safe in terms of any other concerns for public safety," Beckett said when asked if there was a possibility of another explosion.

Peel Regional Police Chief Jennifer Evans said she had no details about the person who was found dead following the explosion.

"We're in the very initial stages of the investigation," Evans said. "We have to determine if this is a criminal investigation or if this is an accident."

-- With files from Peter Cameron and Alan Black in Toronto.