U.S. News


Officials say building in deadly fire shouldn't have had canisters

A 19-year-old was killed after reportedly being hit by a projectile from the explosion about a quarter-mile down the road.
Aftermath of a massive building fire in a Detroit suburb
Posted at 2:43 PM, Mar 06, 2024

Crews battled a massive fire at an industrial building that housed a vape supply business in suburban Detroit on Monday evening as explosions erupted from the blaze. One person died after they were hit with a projectile.

Officials held a news conference Tuesday afternoon to provide an update on the Clinton Township incident, saying that the situation is still dangerous and there is much more debris to collect than originally thought. They also said the business should never have had butane and nitrous oxide canisters in the building, and that they had already collected 15 yards of debris from a 2-mile area.

There were hundreds of small explosions inside the building as canisters were exploding and shooting out of the building. Fire crews say the canisters were flying for miles.

“It basically was a war zone. You had shrapnel blowing up wherever you looked. So if you’re standing outside, you're wondering when the next piece is coming my way, when is it going to hit us?” Fire Chief Tim Duncan said.

Courtesy of Scripps News Detroit

Officials are stressing that no one should try to pick up any of the canisters that were flung from the scene due to the danger. They say they have brought in the Michigan State Police Bomb Squad to help collect them. Anyone who finds debris should call the police department.

"Please don't put yourself, your family and your friends in jeopardy, because those are dangerous," Clinton Township Supervisor Robert Cannon said. "And we encourage, again, people not to go out looking for these for souvenirs. This is not a game. These things are dangerous. They're jagged, they could hurt some little people and there are containers that are still exploding.”

Duncan said on Tuesday morning that one person died in the explosion — a 19-year-old. The person was reportedly hit by a projectile from the explosion about a quarter-mile down the road. The victim has not yet been identified.

Officials said they have yet to officially begin the investigation due to the cleanup at the scene.

The scene will be secured with a fence. Officials say there will be "consequences" for anyone trying to get inside the fenced-in perimeter.

This story was originally published by Scripps News Detroit.