northern macomb county gas fire

Photo shows the fire once under control. (Photo: Lauren Barthold/WWJ)

Apparent Gas Explosion Shakes Homes In Northern Macomb County

January 30, 2019 - 3:11 pm

ARMADA TWP.  (WWJ) - Residents reported hearing and feeling an apparent gas explosion, late Wednesday morning, in northern Macomb County.

Consumers Energy said emergency crews responded to the scene of a fire at the utility's Ray Natural Gas Compressor Station at 32 Mile and Omo Road.

"The fire is being contained and there were no injuries," Consumers said, in a statement, adding that the cause is under investigation.

The WWJ Newsradio 950 newsroom received multiple calls from tipsters about the incident, late Wednesday morning, 

In nearby Richmond Township, resident Maureen said she and her husband first heard what sounded like a car alarm going off. "He looked out and there was a raging ball of fire, and it was just burning out of control," she told WWJ's Dan Jenkins. "I called 911 and they already knew about it. They said help was just sit tight."

Maureen, who did not provide her last name, said that's when the pictures on her walls began to shake. "And about five minutes later there was an huge explosion, and I think that's what everybody heard in the area."

Leo Capaldi said he was sitting in his kitchen in nearby Lenox Township when: "The whole house shook; the windows shook," he told WWJ's Laura Bonnell.  "It was just like a big explosion type sound that went off, and I didn't know what it was."

"I started looking outside," Capaldi said. "I didn't know if it was a plane crash because I heard a jet going over at the same time, but it kept flying, so it wasn't that. "

gas fire
(Photo: Lauren Barthold/WWJ)

Capaldi said several friends in the area, including in Richmond Township and Armada, said they felt it, too. 

In an update Wednesday afternoon, Consumers said all gas flow from the compressor station has been shut in until safety and damage assessments can be completed. Consumers Energy activated natural gas peaking storage fields in Northville and St. Clair to help deliver natural gas to customers in the area.

"Natural gas is stored underground and reserved in these fields, which are activated when energy demand requires it. Further, we are asking some large business customers to reduce gas energy use at this time," the utility said.