Gas line explosion in Orion Township near Auburn Hills leaves 18-foot crater

Pipe to be tested to determine case of fire

ORION TOWNSHIP, Mich. – An 18-foot crater and charred trees were left at the scene of a massive gas line fire in Orion Township just north of Auburn Hills on Brown Road.

Consumers Energy is working to figure out how a gas line erupted into a massive ball of fire Monday night in Orion Township.

The fiery burst happened about 10 p.m. Consumers Energy said a high-pressured natural gas transmission line ruptured. Calls to 911 reported hearing the hissing of gas.

Firefighters arrived right at the same time the gas leak turned into a fireball. The blast was strong enough to disrupt 911 service in Oakland County. The fire ended about midnight. Consumers Energy capped the gas line. It was shut off on both sides. The fire burned itself out. 

Some residents had to be ordered out of their homes but they have been allowed to return.

No injuries were reported. 

The gas line is about 15 feet below ground. The eruption and fire created a large crater about 40 yards wide and 18 feet deep. 

The fire was on the north side of Brown Road, just west of Joslyn Road. Brown Road was shut down between Joslyn and Baldwin roads due to the fire but has since reopened. 

Video posted on Facebook by police in nearby Auburn Hills showed flames shooting several dozen feet into the night sky.

What caused this?

Consumers Energy said this gas line is inspected every 7 years. They said they had no reason to believe there was a problem. 

"This pipeline is a transportation pipeline. There aren't any customers directly connected to this. We regularly inspect all of our pipelines. We will be looking at our data on this pipeline to see what we know about it. It's really too early to tell what the cause was," said Robert Morgenstern, of Consumers Energy. 

You could see the flames from Downtown Detroit and all over Metro Detroit. Take a look here:

About the Authors:

Nick joined the Local 4 team in February of 2015. Prior to that he spent 6 years in Sacramento covering a long list of big stories including wildfires and earthquakes. Raised in Sterling Heights, he is no stranger to the deep history and pride Detroit has to offer.

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.