Evacuations in order after fire, explosions at welding facility in Pittsfield Twp

WEB (9:50 p.m.): A "shelter in place" advisory has been lifted for residents in the area.

A fire has caused at least one explosion at a welding facility in Pittsfield Township Thursday afternoon.

Officials with the Pittsfield Township police say evacuations are also in order, from Ellsworth to Michigan Avenue, and from I-94 to Carpenter. US-23 was also briefly shut down in the area in both directions, between Michigan Avenue and I-94, but has since been reopened. 

Police told us the fire caused at least one explosion at Ann Arbor Welding Supply, but couldn't give any other details at this time. FOX 2 has also taken multiple calls from people in the area telling us they heard several explosions. 

Police were going door-to-door in the area telling residents to evacuate. The fire is happening outdoors in a storage yard near several tanks right now. It's not known for sure what's inside the tanks.

Students that attend Ann Arbor Public Schools and live off of Cloverlane Drive in Pittsfield Township will be held at their school and will not be dropped off. Schools will be contacting parents for pick up information.

"Flames were shooting up -- I want to say 60 feet at times. Several explosions, it sounded almost like a car hit our building," said Paul Cyr, who works nearby. "We all ran out front to see if somebody in fact got into an accident, and saw flames."

There were butane, nitrogen, propane, and oxygen in pressurized gas cylinders on site. The company supplies industrial specialty high purity and mixed gasses, welding equipment and welding supplies.

Pittsfield Township Fire Captain David Dorian says one large propane is causing most of the problem now. He says some of the staff told them that when they were opening a couple of tanks, they turned back, heard a pop and saw a spark, and the fire began. 

There are no reports of injuries.