DTE, other agencies investigate apparent underground explosion in Southwest Detroit

Stretches of Fort, Dearborn streets closed until further notice

“It felt like an explosion or earthquake honestly. The doors in the building were shifting. We were trying to fix them and then we noticed that it was actually a foundation issue. Cracks were appearing inside as well as outside."
“It felt like an explosion or earthquake honestly. The doors in the building were shifting. We were trying to fix them and then we noticed that it was actually a foundation issue. Cracks were appearing inside as well as outside."

DETROIT – The City of Detroit, Great Lakes Water Authority and DTE Energy are investigating an incident that happened in Southwest Detroit late Saturday night.

Stash Detroit Medical Marijuana Dispensary manager Nick Thomas recalled what it was like being inside the building when the foundation of the building literally started to shift Saturday night.

Related: Apparent underground explosion significantly damages Detroit dispensary, officials investigating strange odor

“It felt like an explosion or earthquake honestly. The doors in the building were shifting. We were trying to fix them and then we noticed that it was actually a foundation issue. Cracks were appearing inside as well as outside. Once we started feeling shaking, it was time to go,” Thomas recalled.

Right outside, near the intersection of Fort and Dearborn streets, you could see the unthinkable -- the road literally expanded with what appears to be gas or another chemical emitting fumes from the top.

Original Story: Cause of ‘strong odor’ reported in southwest Detroit under investigation

“When our building actually collapsed, that’s when the street moved. So at that time, I was running, overall, just trying to get somewhere safe,” Thomas explained.

Since then crews from DTE Energy and other agencies -- including the Great Lakes Water Authority and city of Detroit -- have been investigating and hoping to get to the bottom of what caused this extraordinary turn of events. Residents nearby said it all started with a strange odor. Thomas believes it was gas.

“It smelled like gas. We’ve been actually complaining to DTE for about 3 months now,” Thomas insisted.

But so far, DTE said natural gas is not to blame and there is no evidence of natural gas explosion, we’re told however, that part of DTE’s gas and electric infrastructure was impacted by a water main break.

The Detroit Department of Public Works closed several streets nearby until further notice. It’s said that the city’s fire department, the Department of Homeland Security and emergency management will now assist in the investigation.

Sadly, Stash Detroit will now have to find a totally new building because of the extent of the damage.

“It was definitely devastating to see, but you know what, I know with what we have going on, we’re going to come back bigger and better. This is just a small blimp for a great thing to become,” Thomas concluded.

These stretches of Fort and Dearborn Streets are closed until further notice. (WDIV)

The Detroit Fire Marshal has identified an emergency contractor to demolish the building. As far as the roads, it’s unknown how long they’ll be closed. While the investigation continues, DTE and other agencies are asking residents to avoid this area as much as possible.

State Senator Stephanie Chang is chiming in. She’s urging those who smell gasoline near the intersection of Dearborn and Fort streets to leave a tip with the Pollution Emergency Alerting System Hotline at 1-800-292-4706.

More: Detroit news


About the Author:

Victor Williams joined Local 4 News in October of 2019 after working for WOIO in Cleveland, OH, WLOX News in Biloxi, MS, and WBBJ in Jackson, TN. Victor developed a love for journalism after realizing he was a great speaker and writer at an early age.