Warren, MI – Fire and utility officials Monday plan to resume their investigation into what caused an apparent gas explosion and resulting fire that destroyed a house on Warren’s southwest side over the weekend.
The force of the blast could be felt for blocks and sent debris and broken glass flying through the neighborhood on the 20900 block of LaFever Avenue, in the area of Eight Mile and Ryan roads. No other homes were damaged.
Investigators suspect some sort of gas leak caused the blast.
“The front door was found against the curb across the street,” said Fire Commissioner Skip McAdams. “There’s not much left of the house.”
No one was home at the time the house blew up about 6 p.m. and no injuries were reported.
A man who neighbors identified as being a resident of the house briefly went through some of the rubble on Sunday morning. His parents both were at their jobs on Saturday, according to neighbors and police.
The explosion completely leveled the 1,000-square-foot 1950s brick bungalow residence. Apparently fueled by a gas line, the resulting fire was allowed to burn until the utilities were shut off by Consumers Energy.
McAdams said a preliminary investigation of the scene indicates there was no damage to the gas system. He said some evidence may be located in the basement that could help investigators determine the sequence of events.
“We’re going to look at appliance failure as being a possible contributing factor,” he said. “We had some neighbors say they smelled natural gas in the area before the explosion took place.”
Residents who live near the destroyed house said they heard a loud “boom” sound coming from the corner of LeFever and Hayden Street.
“It shook the windows in my house,” said Joe Hutchinson, who has lived on LeFever since 1996. “It blew the whole roof off their house. I’ve never seen anything like this, especially this close up.”
Some neighbors said they observed a utility work crew at the house in recent weeks, but a spokesman for Consumers Energy said it wasn’t one of their workers.
“We hadn’t had an order at that address for the past year,” spokesman Terry DeDoes said.
DeDoes said utility personnel will on the scene Monday to support the Warren Fire Department in the investigation. He said a cause has not yet been determined.
Warren police Sgt. John Pickett also said preliminary indications were a gas leak prompted the explosion, but added the investigation is ongoing.
Neighbors said three people — a mother, father and their adult son — reside in the house. It is believed all three were at work Saturday night.