Two men who both pleaded guilty to causing a 2016 house explosion in Trenton have been handed different sentences and both avoided jail time.
During the sentencing proceedings on Monday morning, court heard Lucas Veltman and Joshua Hilts had been using butane to extract marijuana oil, which caused the explosion at 24 Annwood Court, on January 10 2015.
The ensuing fire totaled the town home where Hilts had been living with his girlfriend and child, and caused almost $300,000 worth of damage to the social housing complex where it happened.
Justice Elaine Deluzio noted both men were equally responsible for the explosion, but differences in their pre-sentence reports led to her decision to give different punishments.
In the decision not to give jail time, the judge took into account the fact the explosion was accidental, but did highlight that it was caused by illegal activity, as well as the age of the two men and the fact that nobody, other than Hilts, had been seriously injured.
He had to be treated in hospital for severe burns and Justice Deluzio told him “he was lucky to have this second chance.”
Hilts was sentenced to a nine month conditional sentence, which includes six months house arrest, plus a year probation and a number of conditions.
Those include making $25 monthly donations to the Quinte West Fire Department Coats for Kids program and 10 hours of community service per week, for the duration of his sentence.
Justice Deluzio noted Veltman had better family supports than his co-accused and had a number of character references, including one from the mayor of Quinte West and that a pre-sentence reported showed he seemed more remorseful and already making better efforts to improve himself.
Among those efforts, some time spent laying concrete at the emergency services training centre in Quinte West.
Veltman was handed a six month conditional sentence, with three months’ house arrest and six months’ probation, with similar conditions as well, also including community service hours that need to be performed.
Residents affected by the blast and fire were kept out of their homes for months while repairs were made.