Furnace thieves cause gas leak nearly causing home explosion

A house explosion critically injures two people in Harper Woods after thieves cause a gas leak recently.

Looking at a pile of rubble that was his next-door neighbor's home on Thursday, Carl Reeves was disappointed to hear the suspects who caused the leak and explosion while trying to steal a furnace, might be at it again.

 "You see the devastation they did to this house and my neighbor's house," said Carl Reeves. "This is terrible."

"The furnace appeared to be staged, meaning they removed the furnace to come back for it," said Deputy Chief John Vorgitch, Harper Woods police.

The explosion happened on Lennon Street last Friday critically injuring two people. Thieves are believed to have broken into the vacant home.

"They almost killed the last two," said Reeves. "I'm glad they're out of the hospital but this is ridiculous."

Harper Woods police agreed and called out to this vacant home on Woodside Wednesday morning. A realtor reported a strong smell of gas... and the back window -- broken.

 "We were thankful for the assistance of DTE who shut off the gas and made the area safe," the deputy chief said.

Once deemed safe, DTE crews crawled in through that broken window that likely allowed enough gas to escape, preventing an explosion. The furnace, hot water heater and dryer were stolen. 

DTE crews determining the gas line from the dryer had not been shut off.

"A lot of people could've died or been injured," said neighbor Jeff Holland. "It's no joke."

Neighbors on Woodside recall the massive destruction from that potentially deadly blast on Lennon Street just a mile away.
Police say while the two thefts are eerily similar, they are unsure if they are related. They are now asking everyone to keep an eye out and to call police if they notice anything suspicious.