23 Aug 2014
65° Foggy

Royal Oak Explosion, Residents See 'Roof Blown Off in the Sky'

At least one man has died after a house exploded on Cooper near Nakota in Royal Oak. Clawson residents report hearing and feeling the blast.

A 58-year-old man was killed Wednesday after an explosion leveled a house on the 4200 block of Cooper Avenue in Royal Oak.

The man was found on the front lawn and is believed to have been inside the house at the time of the explosion, Royal Oak Police Chief Corrigan O'Donohue said.

At least one other person was injured.

Clawson residents reported hearing and feeling the blast on the Royal Oak Patch and Clawson Patch Facebook pages Wednesday night.

Here's a timeline of information we have so far:

9:30 p.m.: Consumers Energy released a statement tonight saying its workers were replacing gas mains in the area near the explosion. They are putting residents up in a Troy hotel for the night. Read the complete story here.

7:30 p.m.: It was a scene of fire and ice Wednesday on Cooper just south of Nakota in Royal Oak as firefighters battled flames after a house appeared to have exploded, shattering windows up and down the street and around the corner and damaging another home next door.

A law enforcement officer on the scene one block east of Woodward Avenue near Joe's Army Navy told onlookers to back up due to concerns over gas in the area and a pair of helicopters circled in the air as television news crews flocked to the corner.

Fox 2 News reported that police have confirmed an adult male is deceased, but it is unclear whether he was in the home at the time of the blast or nearby.

"We were standing here and we heard a big boom and my first thought was someone hit the building," said James Greenway of Royal Oak, who was working at Joe's Army Navy when the incident occurred. The explosion blew out the window at the army surplus shop.

Greenway said he ran out of the building to see if anyone needed help and then ducked back inside to tell a co-worker there was an explosion and to call 911.

Greenway, a 2012 Royal Oak High School graduate and an Eagle Scout, said that when he went back to the scene, he told onlookers to clear out and, "I heard a lady crying out of the house."

He said he ran inside the house next door to the one that expoded and was able to bring the woman, who said she was the only person in the home, out to safety with the help of another bystander, according to Greenway.

"She was just shaken up. She looked OK," he said. "Some neighbors took her into their house."

Greenway said he was unsure whether anyone was inside the home that exploded.

Firefighters from Royal Oak and Birmingham continued to battle bright orange flames into the early evening, as anxious onlookers huddled in small groups on the slushy sidewalks and in snowy lawns behind police tape.

Royal Oak Police said they will be releasing information soon.

5:56 p.m.: A house exploded in Royal Oak on Cooper Avenue near Nakota Road around 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, killing at least one man.

Fox 2 News reported that police have confirmed an adult male is deceased, but it is unclear whether he was in the home at the time of the blast or nearby.

Police officials are urging people to stay away from the area as they are concerned that a secondary explosion could occur. 

Katie Picard, an employee at Caribou Coffee, was working two blocks away when she heard the explosion and thought a car had hit the coffee shop. She looked out the window across Woodward Avenue to see a mushroom cloud over the home, she said.

Many Royal Oak Patch readers are commenting that they felt the blast. Larry Baker posted that he felt his house shake in the neighborhood by Memorial Park near Coolidge and Normandy.

Lisa Wynn posted "Heard it and felt it at 13 1/2 and coolidge. My whole house shook. That was just horrible."

Bradford Neil commented, "Yes, I felt it, too. I live near 13 mile and Woodward (Amherst-Highfield area). My entire house shook. I grabbed my coat and ran outside to check if anything had hit the house. I hope nobody was injured in the explosion."

"It shook the houses in our neighborhood and we saw flames and part of a roof blown off in the sky," said Suzanne Manji.

Royal Oak Patch Editor Judy Davids is on scene trying to get more information.

More details will be posted when available.

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