Flint, MI – The Flint Journal First Edition, By Bryn Mickle
Pam Patterson-Carnes was sitting outside her Mabel Avenue home just before noon Sunday when she watched in horror as the house across the street exploded.
“Kaboosh,” said Patterson-Carnes, who recoiled from the heat and force of the blast that hurtled a teenage boy through a second-floor window and into the street. He lay burned and crying for his mother.
Nearby, a woman and a 2-year-old child lay by a tree after they were thrown through the front door. “It was something you would see in a horror movie,” said Patterson-Carnes.
Stephanie Wilson, 35, had just moved into the house last week, along with 2-year-old Shiy Wilson, Erica Wilson, 19, Anthony Wilson, 18 and Ryan Howard, 18, a friend from Ohio. Stephanie Wilson remains in critical condition today at Hurley Medical Center. Anthony Wilson and Howard were listed in fair condition. Erica and Shiy Wilson were released from the hospital on Monday.
Investigators said someone in the house had been working on an appliance in the basement before the blast and hooked something up incorrectly, causing the home to fill with natural gas. “There was nothing criminal,” said Flint police arson Sgt. Alan Edwards.
Consumers Energy inspectors found no leaks in the gas line leading into the house, said Consumers spokeswoman Mary Gust. Neighbors reported smelling gas in the area before the blast.
The house burst into flames and collapsed after the blast, causing the west wall to fall onto a home next door. A house on the other side was heavily damaged by the fire but the residents were not home.