Thieves scrapping metal likely caused overnight home explosion
FLINT (WJRT) -
(05/13/14) - Thieves scrapping metal most likely caused an overnight home explosion in Flint - one heard and felt miles away. The blast could be felt all over the area, well past the south side neighborhood where it happened.
Consumers Energy Spokesman Kevin Keane said early indications are that metal scrappers were inside the home and removed pipes that allowed natural gas to leak and fill it which caused the explosion.
Michigan State Police and Flint Police fire investigators spent Tuesday sifting through what remains of the home, at the corner of Markham and Irving, to determine where the explosion started. Police say they've narrowed in on a person of interest and they continue to investigate.
Police and neighbors say the people who lived there moved out a few weeks ago, but people were seen inside as recent as Monday and maybe even just hours before the blast. The explosion happened around midnight.
"I was in my house sleeping and all of a sudden I woke up to a big boom with my one window into my TV," said neighbor Robert Pepitone. "It stuttered me so bad I ran into my kitchen. I yelled out my back door and that's when people gathered around."
"It was a rude alarm clock," said Penny Vawter. She lives right next door.
She thought lightning hit her home until her husband looked outside.
"He couldn't figure out what was going on, looked over towards where the house was and it's gone," she said.
Vawter said her home has a lot of structural damage.
"We don't bother anybody. Somebody pulls a stunt like this and uproots our whole life," she said.
Across the street, Ashley Williams is also dealing with it.
"I couldn't get through the front door because it blew the lock in," she said.
Down the road, Duane Titmus, too.
He has cars stored inside a building. They appear to be OK, but a bunch of the building's windows are broken.
Thankfully, no injuries were reported.
Keane urged residents to call 911 if they witness something suspicious like what's suspected in this instance, and pointed out just how dangerous it can be.