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Natural gas leak causes building explosion in Detroit

Tom Greenwood and Holly Fournier, The Detroit News

Detroit — A commercial building exploded Tuesday morning on the city's east side, injuring several people, according to the Detroit Fire Department.

A second-alarm report came in at 8:53 a.m. Tuesday at a building on the 10100 block of Grinnell near Grace. The building houses a National Fleet Services facility.

According to Second Deputy Chief Craig Dougherty, the explosion was caused by a natural gas leak in a tank used to fuel vehicles powered by natural gas.

A second-alarm report came in at 8:53 a.m. Tuesday at a building on the 10100 block of Grinnell near Grace.

"There were three persons in the building at the time of the explosion," Dougherty said. "Two persons were injured and taken away by EMS. I heard that one person was blown out of the building and received burns."

Dougherty said crews from DTE Energy Co. and Consumers were on-site to "de-energize" the building so crews could enter the structure.

"The I-beam is still intact but the explosion did take out most of the lower level of the building," he said.

Chief Dale Bradley confirmed at least one person was initially trapped.

At least a dozen Detroit Fire Department cars, engines and EMS units were at the scene of the explosion.

Firefighters pushed onlookers back an estimated 500 feet from the large gray building, but even at that distance, one could see a debris field in the street as firefighters sent streams of water into the structure during freezing cold and a heavy snowstorm.

DTE Energy Co. was on the scene and took down an electricity line. A spokesman for DTE also confirmed the facility supplied natural gas for a number of its vehicles, but didn't have an exact number.