Detroit Home Explosion Caused By Lit Cigarette After Gunshot Punctured Gas Pipe

"In this business, you think you’ve heard it all, then you hear another story."

WWJ News
January 14, 2020 - 7:58 pm
Detroit Fire Truck

(Photo: WWJ/Mike Campbell)


DETROIT (WWJ) -- Investigators now know what caused a house explosion on Detroit's west side earlier this month that sent six people to the hospital.

On the night of Jan. 4, a house in the 14400 block of Evergreen Road -- between Lyndon and Schoolcraft -- a peculiar set of circumstances caused a house to blow up, sending debris all across the yard and into the street.

After fire crews extinguished the blaze and were pumping water out of the basement, investigators discovered a bullet puncture in a gas pipe.

It turns out, someone had accidentally discharged a gun inside the home and the bullet struck the pipe. Though the occupants inside the home smelled gas, they didn't think much of it. About an hour later when a woman went to light a cigarette.

"She said that she flipped her lighter on, the flame went to the ceiling and the next thing she knew, she was out in the front yard," Detroit Deputy Fire Commissioner Dave Fornell told WWJ.

Fornell says it was a "million-in-one shot" for the trajectory of the bullet to be just right that it traveled through the floor and struck that pipe.

"In this business, you think you’ve heard it all, then you hear another story," Fornell said.

Fornell says thankfully, no one was killed. The home though, a total loss. Fornell says there will be no charges in the case, it is just an unfortunate accident.

The six people who were injured ranged in age from 20 to 38 years old and were all treated for second- or third-degree burns, while two were treated for smoke inhalation.