FERNDALE (WWJ) – One person is hospitalized after authorities say a hash oil operation caused an explosion and fire at a building in Ferndale.
Shortly before 3 p.m. Monday, 911 dispatchers were flooded with reports of explosions on Hilton Road, near 10 Mile Road and I-696 in Ferndale. Firefighters arrived on the scene to find a building fully engulfed; and, as of 4:30 p.m., crews with multiple fire departments were still working to put out the flames.
Fire Marshal Batten said that the explosion and fire appear to have been caused by an illegal hash oil production operation. An individual was using propane to produce hash oil, which spilled and created an explosion and fire, Batten said.
Hilton Rd. was completely shut down between Woodward Heights and 10 Mile.“It is essential that people avoid the immediate area to allow our professionals to get the situation under control safely and expediently,” Batten said.
Local residents told police that there was one big explosion and then some small ones following it for about 15 minutes.
“I talked to a woman who witnessed what happened,” WWJ’s Sandra McNeill reported from the scene. “She heard a boom and came out and said she saw the roof come off of this building. She said it looked like a Jiffy Pop; you know, one of those old popcorn makers.”
According to police, a man in his 30s was inside the building at the time of the explosion. He went next door for help, and was taken to a local hospital. Batten said the man received significant second-and third-degree burns, but his condition at this time is unclear. No additional injuries were reported.
There’s no sign on the building; and Batten said, as far as they know, this was a no-occupancy building. The location where the fire occurred is amid a small strip of businesses. Crews were working to enter the adjoining businesses and ensure the safety of the overall structure.
Batten said residents living behind the fire should stay out of their back yards. “We stress that residents and nearby businesses are safe and there is no danger of the fire spreading,” he said. “But we worry about burning or collapse of overhead power lines in situations like this. Best for neighboring residents to stay indoors and out of harm’s way.”
Batten added that the fire was producing a lot of smoke, so those near the area were urged to close all windows and doors.