After an explosion rocked a Kitchener neighbourhood, nearby residents described the moments after it happened.

It happened around 8:00 a.m. Wednesday.

A woman was pronounced deceased and a man was critically injured in the blast, being airlifted to Hamilton General Hospital.

One house was completely destroyed, and around 30 firefighters were fighting fires there and at the adjacent houses.

“I heard a very loud rumbling, it was like intense thunder,” said neighbour Rick Berenz. “I actually had thought that an airplane had crashed in my backyard.”

Scott Stemerdink, who lives on Sprucedale Crescent, said he was coming home as the explosion happened.

“I was driving home and coming around the corner I heard this big explosion, and insulation like it was snowing out,” he said.

He began going door-to-door telling people to get out of their houses, including the people in the houses right next to the explosion.

“Scott was stopping them from running back inside their house and good thing he did because they went up [in flames] fast,” said Tammy Brereton, another neighbour on Sprucedale. She woke up to what she thought was a natural disaster.

“I thought I was in an earthquake and kind of held onto the bed because it was shaking, and when I stood up I looked out the bedroom window and I just saw debris all over the road,” she said.

As many as two kilometres away, people could hear the sound of the explosion.

“We just thought it was lightning, you know, thunder cracking,” said Ted Gaudun, who lives on Royal Orchard Drive, who lives about a kiloemetre and a half away.

“My friend said he felt the house shuddering and could smell a plasticy smell,” Gaudun said.

The investigation is ongoing, and the deceased has not been identified.