Fire Dept: Greektown blast caused by faulty wires
Authorities evacuated Fishbone's restaurant and the Atheneum Suite Hotel in Greektown on Wednesday after an electrical explosion sent smoke spewing into the buildings.
Heavy smoke from a blast in a street vault for an electrical installation reached the hotel and eatery about 9:30 p.m. near Monroe and Brush, Detroit fire officials said.
Several manhole covers blasted into the air, and the force also blew a door off a nearby building and damaged a car, Deputy Fire Commissioner David Fornell said. No injuries were reported.
The blast startled hotel guests like Pastor Willie Thornton, who was visiting Detroit from Kansas City, Missouri, with his family this week. Even from the fifth floor, they heard vibrations.
“The building actually shook,” Thornton said. “It shook the room.”
His son, Joshua, 11, added: “I thought it was an earthquake.”
Leonard Perry and Breanna Bundle rushed to grab their luggage from their fourth-floor room before heading to the exit.
“We thought it was a bomb or something,” Perry said.
Staffers and customers at Fishbone's had already evacuated the building before authorities called for patrons to leave when smoke was found in a back hallway, manager Greg Martinez said.
“I didn’t want to take any chances,” he said while waiting with a large group of employees outside.
As for the cause of the explosion, Fornell said, in an update on Thursday, it was because of failing underground wires.
"There was never any fire in the buildings, but there was a lot of heavy smoke," Fornell said. "Did the rain have something to do with it? Maybe."
One person was briefly treated by medics, but no one was transported to a hospital.
Meanwhile, dozens of people waited in parking lots near both buildings, waiting for the all-clear. Police also directed traffic and pedestrians away from at least two intersections.