Police: Harper Woods home explosion caused by attempted furnace theft

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News
The house was located in the 20800 block of Lennon Street, near the I-94 Service Drive, just south of Vernier.

Harper Woods — Michigan State Police have determined someone broke into the Harper Woods home before it exploded Friday, injuring two people. 

Michigan State Police F/Lt. Mike Shaw said fire investigators determined someone attempted to steal the furnace at the residence, causing a gas leak.

"We know that someone entered the home and tried to steal the furnace, during which, it caused a gas leak and allowed natural gas to fill up the home," Shaw said.  

When two people arrived at the home, located at 20800 block of Lennon, to do an appraisal, they were blown onto the front lawn as soon as they opened the door.

"When the appraiser went to the home and let in oxygen, the pilot light on the hot water heater ignited the natural gas that built up inside," Shaw said. "It had nothing to do with the pipeline."

The explosion critically injured the pair, a 66-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman, who are in stable condition Wednesday. 

Although police have determined the cause, Shaw said officials are continuing their investigation. 

"This was a criminal act that caused gas to build up in the house. ... We took some of the items recovered to our crime lab and are continuing the investigation. Harper Woods Police Department will handle further criminal investigations to find the individual who entered the home," he said. 


Twitter: @SarahRahal_