Madison Heights, MI- By Catherine Kavanaugh, Daily Tribune Writer
A homeowner and her grandson narrowly escaped serious injury Saturday when an apparent natural gas explosion rocked their bungalow as they darted out the front door.
The woman suffered burns to her ears and the back of her neck. She taken to St. John Oakland Hospital, where she was treated and released.
The incident happened about 7:15 a.m. and the exact cause remains under investigation. The woman reportedly smelled gas inside the 1-1/2-story house on Rialto Avenue at the corner of Greig Avenue. She called 9-1-1 and was advised to leave immediately.
The teenage grandson made it outside and the grandmother was close behind when the house exploded and flames erupted in the rear of the dwelling.
“The police dispatcher who urged them to get out did an excellent job and probably saved both of their lives,” said Madison Heights Fire Lt. Ken Jones.
Strong winds fanned the flames, burning most of the house and damaging the bungalow next door.
The fire departments spent about three hours at the scene. Now the cause of the explosion is under investigation by the Madison Heights fire marshal and Oakland County.
Consumers Energy workers checked the area for problems and found nothing, according to spokesperson Debra Dodd.
“We tested our system up and down the street and it’s intact, which means whatever happened took place inside the home,” Dodd said.
“It’s a miracle they’re OK,” Dodd said, offering this reminder to homeowners: “If you smell gas, don’t wait. Get out and call for help from a safe location.”