DETROIT (WWJ) – Six people, including two young children, are hospitalized after an explosion on Detroit’s east side that authorities believe might have been caused by an illegal gas hookup.
The explosion happened around 8 p.m. Thursday at a home on Fairport and Manning streets, in a neighborhood near Schoenherr Street and 7 Mile Road. The house was completely leveled.
Detroit Arson Chief Charles Simms said six people were inside the home when it exploded.
“We had five people transported to St. John’s Hospital, which included two children, a 2-year-old and a 3-year-old, and three adults,” in their 20s, Simms told WWJ. “And then we had a 35-year-old relative of the family transported to Detroit Receiving Hospital.”
Two of the victims are in critical condition, while the other four are in temporary-serious condition. Authorities said all of the victims were burned, although they didn’t elaborate as to which victims were more severely injured.
Bricks and shattered glass are strewn about the neighborhood, but it doesn’t appear that houses on either side of what is now just a pile of rubble sustained any major damage.
Simms said crews are continuing to investigate the blast, which may have resulted from an illegal hookup.
“Right now, we’re looking at the gas hookup. From my understanding, and it’s still early in the investigation, but I don’t think that the gas was turned on at this residence. So, at this point we’re still investigating that part of the scene, whether gas was actually hooked up legally or illegally,” he said.
Simms said it appears squatters might have rigged a gas hookup to the stove, which they could have been using to keep warm. He said DTE Energy shut off the home’s gas service back in February, at the customer’s request.
Rosalyn King, who lives across the street, wasn’t home when the explosion happened, but she believes investigator’s initial theory.
“When I came back, I noticed the house up in fire. I thought it was my house but it wasn’t, thank God for that, but it’s sad,” King told WWJ’s Laura Bonnell. “But it was vacant, no one stayed there.”
An investigation is ongoing.