A fiery explosion Wednesday morning destroyed a home on Main Street in Baker Brook, New Brunswick, about 20 kilometres southwest of Edmundston and left two brothers homeless. The explosion shook nearby homes and offices and threw debris across the road, according to a report from CIMT television. The blast could be heard for several miles around.

The Baker Brook, Clair and Saint-François Fire departments were called to the scene shortly after 9:30 a.m.

Baker-Brook Fire Chief Marcel Daigle said that he passed the burning house for the first time to get the fire service truck and there was already nothing that could be done to save the building. A neighbor said the large two-storey house collapsed moments after the explosion.

A man reportedly escaped just before the blast and was taken to the hospital by neighbors. Dan Bedell of the Canadian Red Cross said the man sustained slight burns  and other minor injuries. His brother was not home at the time.

Canadian Red Cross volunteers were in contact with both men and referred them to other local organizations that are providing emergency support, Bedell said.

The fire also spread to a nearby transformer, cutting off the electricity and water supply to the area. This caused problems for firefighters, who had to haul water in by truck, CIMT reported.

According to NB Power, nearly 400 Baker-Brook customers were left without electricity. Residents also saw a significant decrease in water pressure.

Route 120 was closed Wednesday morning but was reopened to traffic around noontime.

A spokesperson for Saint-Léonard RCMP said the explosion occurred at the propane tanks outside the house. No further information about the cause or extent of damage is available at this time.

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