Blast kills 1 in suspected Detroit pot grow

Shawn D. Lewis, and Robin Buckson

An explosion Monday night at a commercial building at 11211 Morang near Somerset in Detroit appeared to be a pot-growing operation, said Deputy Fire Commissioner David Fornell. One person was killed, he said.

Detroit police officers, in foreground, and Detroit fire department on the scene of an explosion in a commercial building on Somerset near Morang in Detroit on Tuesday evening.

“The fire chief was on the scene and they’re trying to determine what was going on,” said Fornell. “Everything is unfolding right now.”

One fatality was reported, he said. Police closed Morang as they investigated the blast, which occurred about 8:30 p.m.

Later, at the scene, Detroit Police Capt. Mark Thornton said two people had been in the building before the blast. One person who was visiting from New York, left to move a car and when he got to the vehicle, he told authorities, he heard an explosion, which killed the person inside, Thornton said.

The incident appeared to be “some type of explosion or failure of a settling tank,” Thornton said. He would not explain more or say if it was a marijuana growing operation. Authorities were trying to determine what the property was licensed for, Thornton said.

Detroit police officers, in foreground, and Detroit fire department on the scene of an explosion in a commercial building on Somerset near Morang in Detroit on Tuesday evening.

The blast resulted when a tank containing oxygen, acetylene or nitrogen blew up, Thornton said. The explosion left a hole in the ceiling beneath where the tank sat, said fire authorities. The gray, cinderblock building remained standing on a street that includes a nearby apartment building and liquor store.

DTE was notified about the blast.

“DTE has been called to the scene to cut service to the location,” said Jennifer Wilt, a DTE spokeswoman.

SLewis@detroitnews.com

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