Royal Oak house explosion kills man, damages neighborhood

House explosion kills 58-year-old man, shatters windows throughout Royal Oak neighborhood; cause under investigation

By Mara MacDonald - Reporter

ROYAL OAK, Mich. -

When Royal Oak firefighters arrived at the home Wednesday evening it was completely destroyed.

Flames were shooting up from the foundation and debris was, and still is, everywhere.

Read: Royal Oak house explosion kills 1 person, rocks community

The cleanup began Wednesday night on Cooper Avenue where the force of the explosion was like nothing anyone in the area had ever experienced.

"It literally just felt like something ... like a bomb went off," said Beverly Vines.

Calls from all over, some from several miles away, flooded 911.

"I am reporting a big blast that just happened over here on 14 and Normandy," said one caller.

Watch: Royal Oak explosion sends shockwave through area

A 58-year-old man was found dead at the scene. Two neighboring homes sustained heavy damage but luckily those inside were OK.

"We ran outside, and it is literally a house down from us and we had to run in a get my neighbor has her elderly aunt who lives with her, speaks no English. So I just wanted to get her out as soon as possible," said neighbor Kate Sikora.

The cause of the explosion is under investigation. However, Consumers Energy had been in the area for the past several days doing routine gas line replacement. The utility company was at the scene Wednesday night.

"We did have a three-person crew working in the area earlier today. We do not know if that's part of the cause. It will all be part of the investigation," said Debra Dodd, of Consumers Energy.

Consumers Energy estimates more than two dozen homes were damaged in the immediate area. Several blocks away, businesses on Woodward Avenue are damaged, too.

"I walked in and I made sure all my customers were safe. Nobody got hurt, cut or anything," said Dino Loukopoulos, owner of Golden Basket restaurant.

Customers were inside the Golden Basket when the windows started to shatter. Everyone was OK, just shaken up. The owner's son felt the blast in Troy and went running to see if his father was OK.

"I'm glad my dad is alive. I thought he was dead," said Steve Loukopoulos.

Consumers Energy has tested for gas in the area and is putting up anyone who is affected by the explosion in a Troy hotel.

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