DTE Energy Building a ‘Total Loss’

Wednesday, July 6, 2016 @ 04:07 PM gHale


A DTE Energy training facility building damaged by a massive natural gas explosion caused by a car crash in Melvindale, MI, early Saturday is a “total loss,” company officials said.

Investigators are still assessing the damage to the company’s training facility, which houses a few buildings, said DTE spokesman Scott Simons. Only a small amount of industrial customers lost power after the explosion, but their service ended up restored early Sunday.

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“The one three-story building that caught fire is a total loss,” Simons said, adding the top three inches of road asphalt near the crash site at Allen Road and Greenfield turned to ash because of the explosion.

The blast that reverberated throughout Melvindale, a 2.8-square-mile Detroit suburb, could be felt as far away as Canada, according to witnesses, and forced an evacuation of nearly 1,500 residents.

A car driven by a 24-year-old man crashed through a fence and into a natural gas main, causing the explosion, said Melvindale Police Chief Chad Hayse. Police said only the motorist suffered an injury and investigators said he was in stable condition.

Hayse said the man suffered some burns, but a detective was able to interview him and they feel alcohol was a factor in the crash that occurred at 2:30 a.m.

Police said Sunday afternoon that investigators are continuing to investigate.

Maria Miller, spokeswoman for the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, said Sunday the office has not received a warrant request from Melvindale police in connection with the crash and explosion.

The man, who police would not identify, ended up pulled from his car by a friend who had been following him, Hayse said. The friend managed to drive away from the immediate area, but someone in a third vehicle, who happened to be nearby, had to abandon that car as heat and fire erupted. The friend of the injured driver took the man to a spot away from the blast, but emergency personnel transported the man to the hospital because he was going into shock, Hayse said.