Woman Lighting Crack Pipe Near Gas Leak May Have Sparked House Explosion


DETROIT (WWJ) - Officials say a house explosion on Detroit's west side may have been sparked by a woman who tried to light a crack pipe near an apparent gas leak.

The explosion happened around 4 a.m. Friday at a home on Archdale Street, in a neighborhood off the Southfield Freeway and Warren Avenue.

Three people are believed to have been inside the home when the explosion happened. Fire officials initially said a man in his 60s was found fatally injured among the debris, but now they say that man is missing. Two others, a 42-year-old man and 46-year-old woman, were taken to the hospital with burns to their arms and faces.

Deputy Fire Commissioner Dave Fornell says the cause appears to be a natural gas leak that was ignited by the woman, who was apparently lighting a crack pipe.

"She commented she was lighting up a crack pipe, so that's what she told our medics. But at this particular point, we'll wait until the arson people go ahead and interview her and we get some more detailed information," Fornell said.

The woman remains hospitalized in critical condition. The man is hospitalized in serious condition.

Other circumstances surrounding the incident weren't immediately clear.

Reporting live from the scene, WWJ's Charlie Langton said the explosion left the street littered with debris.

Tanner Mindeville, who lives in the neighborhood, said the blast sounded five times louder than a mortar firework

"It shook the neighborhood. Everyone is saying it sounded like an earthquake, felt like an earthquake. I mean look, it threw it across the street, it broke some neighbors' windows," he said. "I've been in this neighborhood my whole life and I've never seen it this close."

An investigation is ongoing.

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