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Consumers Energy Halts Projects Statewide After Deadly Explosion

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An aerial view of the house that exploded on Cooper Street in Royal Oak. (WWJ Photo/Bill Szumanski)

An aerial view of the house that exploded on Cooper Street in Royal Oak. (WWJ Photo/Bill Szumanski)

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ROYAL OAK (WWJ/AP) - Consumers Energy says it has halted projects throughout Michigan that involve the same drilling method used before a house explosion that killed a 58-year-old Royal Oak man.

Consumers Energy spokeswoman Deborah Dodd said crews were using a horizontal drilling method called “boring” last week to replace a gas main on Cooper Avenue when a home exploded.

“A hole is dug at one end of where you want to install a pipe, and an instrument is horizontally fed throughout underneath the ground to another hole where the main, the plastic main is waiting,” she said.

Dodd said employees and contractors are conducting a detailed review of procedures on projects involving boring. Upon completion of the review, the utility says it will resume those drilling operations.

“We’ve used boring for quite a few years, but it is an accepted industry practice and again, it’s used by a lot of different industries, not just the natural gad industry,” she said.

Dodd said boring is a desirable technique to install pipeline cable, because it helps avoid the destruction of property.

Consumers Energy, a subsidiary of Jackson-based CMS Energy Corp., has said that natural gas leaking from a line serving the home on Cooper Avenue may have caused the Feb. 27 blast. Utility crews had been working for several days to replace a gas main on the street and may have damaged the line.

Daniel Malczynski died in the blast, which leveled his house. After the explosion, which was felt and heard miles away, burning and smoking wood planks from the home were scattered nearby as firefighters rushed to put out the flames. More than two dozen homes were damaged in the immediate area of the blast. Several blocks away, some businesses on Woodward Avenue were damaged, too.

MORE: Attorney Says Utility 1 Inch Away From Second Explosion In Royal Oak

Consumers Energy Takes Blame For Home Explosion

Feds Investigate Cause Of Deadly House Explosion

Explosion Levels Royal Oak Home, One Killed

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