GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (May 27, 2014) — A natural gas explosion followed by fire ripped through a house on Grand Rapids northeast side early Tuesday afternoon. Neighbors say they could feel and see effects of an explosion with the force created just before the structure became engulfed in flames.
The house, in the 900 block of North Park Court, was empty at the time as the young couple who owns it were reportedly on vacation in Tennessee with their baby. Robbin Hurst is a neighbor that lives almost behind the house on the next block and was almost knocked down immediately following the explosion. “Windows shook, blinds shuttered, and I quickly ran to the door to see the entire back portion of the house was laying in the backyard” says Hurst.
FOX 17 has learned that a neighbor called 911 on Monday reporting the smell of gas. The Grand Rapids Fire Department came out and found nothing. Representatives for DTE Energy say they were never made aware of that phone call. Firefighters tell FOX 17 that neighbors had been smelling gas since Monday.
The fire burned so hot the radiant heat melted vinyl siding off both houses next door. The house was a total loss and both the Fire Department and DTE are searching for an ignition source. “It was like a bomb or grenade or something exploded! It was a huge forceful explosion” says Hurst.