ORION TWP. (WWJ) – Fire officials in Orion Township are trying to determine what led to an explosion that leveled a three-story home and killed two people.
The blast, which sent fire 50-feet into the sky, happened around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday on Coats Road, near Baldwin and Indianwood roads in northern Oakland County.
By the time first responders arrived on the scene, the home was engulfed in flames. One resident a quarter-mile away told WWJ Newsradio he could feel the impact of the blast.
Firefighters had to use water trucks because the neighborhood does not have fire hydrants; homes are fed by wells.
A 29-year-old woman was able to escape with minor injuries before the home collapsed, but her parents — identified by authorities as Bruce and Kathy Dominguez — were trapped inside.
Both of their bodies have since been recovered.
The home is a complete loss.
When neighbor Dave Moen heard the blast and saw the house completely covered in smoke, he sprang into action and rushed to help. Despite the danger to his own life, Moen barged into the house and heard the daughter screaming from the second floor.
“She was saying she lost her glasses, can’t see and I have no shoes on,” Moen told WWJ’s Charlie Langton. “There was smoke but no fire, just dust, kind of a yellowish smoke. He was just saying ‘I’m here, help.'”
The explosion took out the home’s staircase, so Moen had to help guide the woman through the back of the house so she could reach safety. By that time, there was nothing Moen could do to help the husband and wife trapped inside.
“She was following the sound of my voice to get through it because I could not see in there whatsoever. I knew where nothing was, everything had collapsed,” he said. “I took her out of the house and when I went back to get him, he was pinned, I believe, between the floors. The second floor’s floor collapsed on him.”
A cause of the explosion has not yet been determined but Fire Chief Bob Smith says nothing appears suspicious.
“You’ve got a 29-year-old girl upstairs watching TV, you’ve got mom and dad downstairs watching TV or whatever they were doing — I would be totally shocked (if it wasn’t accidental),” he said.
The destruction is so grave, Smith says they may never know the true origin. The home was hooked up to a propane tank, however, which investigators say may have been involved.
An investigation is ongoing.