A massive explosion rocked a north Edmonton neighbourhood yesterday afternoon, destroying a number of homes, according to witnesses.

It was an otherwise quiet Sunday afternoon in the north side community around 179 Avenue and 91 Street when at about 1 p.m. Barry Guyon felt his house shake.

“We thought it was a plane crash because of all the cop cars,” he said. “It shook our house. It’s pretty tragic.”

Guyon and his wife jumped in their car to see what was happening and were floored when they saw the destruction.

“The back of the house was completely gone,” he said. “And about 14 others were badly damaged.”

When Josh Legault saw all the emergency vehicles racing down 91 Street toward the explosion, he grabbed his camera and went to see what was happening.

“There were a lot of people, some smoke, and one of the houses was still burning,” said the 21-year-old. “There were small explosions and debris on the streets.”

Legault said he arrived on scene about 20 minutes after the explosion and when he got there police were already evacuating the area.

“There was damage to the houses beside and across the street,” he said. “The windows were blown out from the explosion and there was wood in people’s roofs. It looked pretty intense.”

Fire rescue services said at least three people were dead as of press time, 70 were displaced and several suffered injuries in the blast.

“So far a total count of 15 houses were damaged from windows out, to flying debris,” district fire Chief Robert D’Aoust said.

“No word about whether this is linked to criminal activity.”

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