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Pics: Explosion, fire in Michigan

An ambulance. (Monkey Business Images/Dreamstime/TNS)
February 20, 2024

A house in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was destroyed Monday in a major explosion that authorities say was caused by the ignition of at least one of two 20-pound propane tanks that were used to heat the home. The explosion resulted in a “total loss” of the house, with one individual taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The Ann Arbor Police Department shared photos of the fire that consumed the house after Monday’s explosion in a post on social media.

“House Explosion,” the department wrote. “Officers assisting Ann Arbor Fire in the 700 block of S. Seventh. House is a total loss. Expect street closures in the area. One patient hospitalized for non-life-threatening injuries.”

According to The Detroit News, Ann Arbor Fire Chief Mike Kennedy said the Ann Arbor Fire Department responded to a house explosion just after 6:00 a.m. on Monday. While the fire was under control within 20 minutes of the fire department’s response, Kennedy noted that the entire house structure was destroyed due to the explosion.

“Firefighters arrived at 6:11 AM to find a single family residence completely leveled from an explosion with significant fire threatening the house to the south side,” the fire department wrote in a post on Facebook. “The sole occupant of the house that exploded was ambulatory with non-life threatening injuries; this occupant was transported by HVA to University of Michigan Hospital.”

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The fire department noted that the “quick actions” of the Ann Arbor firefighters prevented the fire from spreading to a nearby house. While the main fire was controlled within the first 20 minutes, firefighters remained on the scene until 12:00 p.m. battling hot spots. The fire department also noted that one of the firefighters sustained minor injuries after slipping on ice at the scene of the explosion.

As part of the investigation into the explosion and fire, Kennedy explained that the owner of the home had been using two 20-pound propane tanks to heat his house.

“The source of the explosion was two (2) twenty (20) lb propane tanks that were being use[d] for heating,” the department stated. “Due to the extent of the damage, we were unable to determine the ignition source or if there was a fire prior to the explosion.”

The Ann Arbor Fire Department explained that the investigation into the explosion was “closed” unless additional information was brought forward.

“Given the force of the blast, the fact that there was only the one injury to the public and relatively minor damage to surrounding buildings is truly remarkable,” the department said. “Please never use propane inside a residence due to this explosive risk and the risk of carbon monoxide.”