Royal Oak house explosion kills 1 person, rocks community

House explodes near Woodward Avenue, Normandy Road in Royal Oak, killing at least 1 person

A house exploded Wednesday evening on Cooper Avenue near Woodward Avenue and Normandy Road in Royal Oak, sending debris across the neighborhood, rocking nearby communities and killing at least one person.

It is unclear if anyone else was in the home at the time of the explosion. The Oakland County Medical Examiner's Office has confirmed one death, a 58-year-old Royal Oak resident. The person's identity has not been released.

The cause of the explosion is not yet confirmed. However, Local 4 has learned Consumers Energy was doing utility work earlier in the day on the street. The explosion appears to be caused by natural gas.

Aerial video: House explodes in Royal Oak

Debris has littered the surrounding area as some of it still burned long after the blast. Firefighters worked to put out the flames and search the rubble. Firefighters from nearby communities including Birmingham and Madison Heights joined to help. The residual natural gas line continued to spew flames.

The houses next door have sustained extensive damage. Windows are blown out at houses across the street and down the street.

Right after the explosion, Local 4 received many calls, emails and tweets from people who say they felt the blast several miles away.

Neighbors described an intense boom.

"I was standing in my kitchen talking to my brother and his friend and next thing you know there is this huge, like, sound wave, and then all of our glass breaks and there is this huge explosion," said Kate Sikora, who lives next door. "It is literally a house down from us. I don't know if we have any debris, personally, in our house."

Photo courtesy of Jim Charbonneau