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Authorities Identify Two Missing Persons After Massive Ontario Explosion

Benjamin Purper

Authorities have identified two people who are missing after a cache of fireworks exploded, causing a deadly explosion at a home in Ontario. 

The two missing persons, who authorities said haven’t yet been confirmed to be the two known dead from the blast, are cousins Caesar Paez and Alex Paez.

The individuals are 20 and 38, respectively.

The explosion happened Tuesday afternoon around West Francis Street in Ontario and ignited multiple fires, drawing about 50 firefighters to douse the flames.

Smoke could be seen for miles, nearby windows were shattered and crews were working to clear about 80 properties of debris.

Fire crews, the Ontario Police Department and other investigators remained at the scene Wednesday morning.

Lieutenant Bill Russell with the Ontario Police Department explains the reasoning behind the mandatory evacuations in this area.

“What makes it really complicated is in that debris field there may be something like an unexploded device or something. So we want to be sure that somebody doesn’t accidentally step on something that could injure anybody, a kid or anybody. If we send everyone back to their homes and a kid finds something in the yard, that could be very dangerous,"Russell says.

"The goal today is to get in there, really evaluate that debris field, and really get to a point where we can start giving people a chance to get back into their homes. Once the area’s secure they’ll be able to do a deeper investigation and identify the people who were deceased and begin to put this thing back together.”

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