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Gas leak in 2nd Harper Woods house after break-in

James David Dickson
The Detroit News
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Nearly a week after a home in Harper Woods exploded after someone tried to steal a furnace causing a gas leak, a second home in the Wayne County suburb was found to have potentially dangerous gas levels after appliances were stolen.

Both the exploded home and the home with high gas levels were vacant at the time, police said.

Harper Woods police called Thursday's incident "very similar" to Friday's explosion on the 20800 block of Lennon, about 2.5 miles away.

Thursday's incident took place about 11 a.m. on the 18900 block of Woodside. A realtor went to the home and smelled gas, noted a broken window, and called police, authorities said.  

Police, along with DTE Energy, arrived and found that the home's furnace, hot water heater and dryer had been stolen and that the gas line to the dryer hadn't been shut off. 

On Friday, two appraisers, a 66-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman, arrived at the home on Lennon, opened the front door, and were blown onto the home's front lawn. Both were critically injured by the explosion. The victims were in stable condition at last report Wednesday. 

Michigan State Police, who are investigating the Lennon explosion, said it was caused by the attempt to steal the furnace, which created the gas leak. When the door was opened and more oxygen introduced to the environment, the house exploded. 

"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," Lt. Mike Shaw, a spokesman for the state police said on Wednesday. "It had nothing to do with the pipeline."

Harper Woods police are investigating the break-in that led to the gas leak.