Royal Oak truck caught on fire had radioactive material

Holly Fournier and Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Royal Oak — Radioactive material was found in the bed of a truck that caught fire early Saturday along with a second vehicle in an area experiencing a string of suspicious car fires, officials said.

The truck was engulfed in flames around 4:50 a.m. Saturday while parked in the street on the 1000 block of Bauman Avenue, south of East 14 Mile and west of Campbell Road, police said in a statement.

Trace amounts of radioactive material was found on the equipment, used to test soil samples and reported by the vehicle’s owner as being located in the truck bed.

A HAZMAT team responded to the scene and contained the equipment, police said. The team determined there was “no risk of exposure to the residents in the area.”

A second vehicle simultaneously was consumed by flames early Saturday, approximately 200 feet away from the truck on the 1000 block of Bauman Avenue, police said. It was parked in a driveway near a detached garage that sustained light to moderate damage.

Both fires were described by authorities as being suspicious.

There have been 41 reported car fires in Royal Oak this year, police said. Nine appear to have been intentionally set and are being investigated as suspicious.

Included in that list are three suspicious car fires reported during the Thanksgiving week within a four-block radius of each other and Saturday’s incidents.

The earlier blazes occurred between Nov. 23 and Thanksgiving morning, officials said at the time.

“The initial investigation indicates the fires originated from the passenger compartment of each vehicle,” officials said in a Facebook post.

City officers and firefighters responded to two blazes reported early Nov. 23: one in the 900 block of Whitcomb at 3:08 a.m., followed by another about 16 minutes later on the next block, in the 1100 block of Bauman.

Both vehicles were parked on the street, city officials said. The fires were quickly extinguished and no one was injured.

Emergency personnel were called again around 2:38 a.m. Thanksgiving morning to the 600 block of Millard, where they found a vehicle parked in the driveway, engulfed in flames.

The residents were evacuated to safety. Crews extinguished the blaze, but the heat melted part of the home’s vinyl-siding, officials said.

The Royal Oak Police Criminal Investigation Division, Royal Oak Fire Marshal and Oakland County arson investigators are probing the incidents.

Anyone with information is asked to call (248) 246-3456.

(313) 223-4616