Gas explosion witnesses give accounts of horrific scene

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Witnesses described the horrific scene of a gas explosion in Melvindale early Saturday morning.

“I didn’t think anybody was going to make it. I thought Melvindale was going to blow. But it would be us first, because I thought it was all going to go,” said witness Ann Jones.

A driver crashed into a gas tank at a DTE gas facility around 3 a.m. Saturday. Investigators said alcohol was a factor.

“I looked out of the window and I said, ‘Wow, it must be maybe 6 or 7 o’clock,’” said witness Carl Bentz. “It wasn’t. It was 2:30 (or) 3 o’clock.  The fire was so huge that it actually lit up the sky.”

Bentz said the flames lit up the sky like it was day time.

“And the heat. And it’s four houses away. I was scared,” Jones said.

Many witnesses reported their minds were racing - many of them thought this was a terrorist attack.

“It felt like the whole earth shook … I couldn’t believe it. I got up. I thought either a bomb hit or something happened, or an air plane crashed,” said witness Donnie Depuie. “We went and looked out the window and the fire was just overwhelming. Huge - it went so high.”

Sonya Menchaca said the explosion sounded like a train crash.

“(It) knocked us off the bed. I woke up and went to the window and just saw the flames. It was just ... Words can’t even explain how … It was scary. All we could think was just to get out,” she said.

Emergency responders went to door-to-door, evacuating people out of harm’s way.

“I’ve never seen a fire this extreme, with this much force where you can actually feel the pressure of the fire,” Bentz said.

Depuie said he’s never seen anything like this in his life.

“In my 47 years of being on this earth, I’ve never seen that kind of catastrophic (incident) with my eye own eyes,” he said.