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Detroit house exploded when woman lit cigarette hour after bullet pierced gas pipe in basement, police say

6 people injured in explosion

A house that exploded Jan. 4, 2020, in Detroit.
A house that exploded Jan. 4, 2020, in Detroit.

DETROIT – A Detroit house explosion that injured six people earlier this month happened because a woman lit a cigarette about an hour after someone fired a gun, piercing the gas pipe in the basement with a bullet and allowing gas to leak inside the home, fire officials said.

The house exploded the night of Jan. 4 in the 14400 block of Evergreen Road on Detroit’s west side, according to authorities.

Six people -- ranging from 20 to 38 years old -- were rushed to a nearby hospital, officials said. All six victims had second- or third-degree burns on their bodies, police said. Two were treated for smoke inhalation.

“We’re talking about an explosion that you would hear on YouTube or something like that,” neighbor Daniel Lyons said at the time. “Man, I thought we were going World War III.”

Two doors from the home were blown into the middle of the street. Shattered glass and debris littered the yard.

Deputy Fire Commissioner Dave Fornell said one hour before the explosion, someone inside the home fired a weapon. The bullet pierced a gas pipe in the basement, causing a leak, Fornell said.

An hour later, a woman lit a cigarette inside the home, causing the explosion.

“Thank God it didn’t have a chain reaction on somebody else’s house, or something like that,” Lyons said.


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