Birmingham fire chief: Appliance gas leak caused house explosion

Woman escapes explosion with minor injuries

A house exploded May 25, 2020 in the 1300 block of Chapin Avenue near Woodward Avenue in Birmingham.

BIRMINGHAM, Mich. – The Birmingham fire chief said a natural gas leak from an appliance service line caused a house to explode May 25 in the 1300 block of Chapin Avenue near Woodward Avenue.

The homeowner had been away for several weeks taking care of her father and returned home to plug in a timer light to ward off any would-be burglars while she was away, and to get her two cats.

According to the woman, when she flipped on a light she felt a rush of air and realized there had been an explosion. Holding her breath, she climbed out the window nearly without injury. Next to her house she saw a pile of brick, drywall and facade. The house managed to stay standing.

“She did sustain some minor injuries but she’s fine. Thankfully, she’s not in the hospital. It’s just a miracle she’s doing wonderful,” said Birmingham Fire Department Chief Paul Wells.

On Thursday, Wells said fire officials have determined the gas leak was coming from a service line to the laundry dryer. It was a small gas leak that led to a big explosion.