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Ottawa man pleads guilty in Orleans explosion

An Ottawa man pleaded guilty for causing an explosion that destroyed several homes, caused more than $5 million in damage and injured 12 people in an Orléans subdivision last winter.

Kody Troy Crosby, 35, pleaded guilty Thursday morning to charges of breaking and entering a dwelling under construction and intentionally causing damage by explosion. The judge sentenced Crosby, who was wearing jeans and a black t-shirt, to five years in prison.

Residents woke up to the sound of a massive explosion and fireball at 6:18 a.m. on Feb. 13 in the Avalon Vista neighbourhood. The explosion destroyed four homes under construction, damaged several more and displaced residents of nearly 30 households.

Emergency crews rescued two people from the rubble of the homes, while four people were hospitalized following the explosion.

Ottawa police said Crosby broke into two homes under construction on Blossom Pass Terrace on Sunday, Feb. 12.

According to the agreed statement of facts in the case, Crosby intended to steal the water heaters from the new homes.  The court heard that when the two water heaters were stolen from the homes, the natural gas lines were left open and gas started filling the townhomes.

When two sets of contractors arrived at work on Monday, Feb. 13, the natural gas ignited and caused the explosion.

The Ottawa Police Arson Unit led the investigation into the explosion. Crosby was charged in March after investigators used video surveillance footage to identify the suspect.

Minto estimates the explosion caused $5.3 million in damage. Court heard four townhomes under construction were completely destroyed by the explosion, while several damaged homes had to be demolished.

Emergency crews at the scene of an explosion caused by a gas leak at a construction site on Tenth Line Road in Orleans on Monday, Feb. 13, 2023. (James Fish/CTV Morning Live)

One of the contractors injured in the explosion told the court in a victim impact statement that they now suffer from PTSD and he has fears of returning to work.

During sentencing, Justice Mitch Hoffman said, "the amount of property damage, financial loss is massive. The psychological and emotional impact, in particular from the people who received injuries and those who did not, but had their homes and lives shattered, literally and figuratively, is very significant."

"You have significantly impacted a handful of people who are hurt,"  Hoffman said. "It is almost miraculous that they didn't lose their life or have long-term permanent injuries."

Crosby did not address the court during the sentencing hearing.

"There is no question that this incident had a tremendous effect on the community at large," Coun. Catherine Kitts said.

"But more specifically those that were injured, those that were adjacent to the blast."

Crosby was initially charged in March with two counts of breaking and entering, four counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm, four counts of arson causing bodily harm, arson with disregard for human life and arson causing property damage. Top Stories

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