Police: Propane likely cause of massive house explosion

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At 6 p.m. Sunday an explosion sent flames into the sky leaving fire where a home once stood.

It sent debris scattered for blocks and sending the Redford man who lives there to the hospital in critical condition.

Neighbors  are worried about their neighbor 58-year-old Bill Rice who had just finished playing pool with friends in the apartment behind the garage. He lived in the house at the front of the property and was badly hurt in the blast..

"He had just walked in the house, turned the lights on," said Chris Tracey. "And the house is gone."

"He was on  fire and there were other neighbors trying to put him out," Chris said. "And pull him out of the flames."

"He was actually lying in the middle on top of the rubble," said neighbor Mike Fodal. "He was smoking his clothes were all burned up. They rushed him to the hospital last night."

Neighbors described the explosion as if a bomb had gone off.

"The neighbor's house, the whole thing was just gone," said Chris, whose parents live next door. Tracey was visiting with his mother and girlfriend when it happened.

Police say the cause was likely propane, used to heat the home. You can still see tanks on the property.

"There was propane used at this residence," said Sgt. Kevin Crittenden of Redford police. "The natural gas has not been on in some time."

"It's pretty powerful," said Sgt. Jerry King. "We took photos out to a quarter mile out and there's debris beyond that - quite an explosion."

Fodal lives a street over and felt it, saw it and heard it

"It was a fireball," he said. "It was such a huge loud explosion like I said - it shook my house - knocked me out of my computer chair."

He wasn't the only one as surveillance video from a nearby home shows it shake. Social media was flooded with photos of the fire as the flames reached high into the night.

"The (flames) were all the way to the top of the trees as any fully involved house fire would be," said Battalion Chief Steve Norris of the Redford Fire Department. "They were 30, 40 feet in the air when we first got here."

As to an official cause to the explosion, investigators are working to confirm the propane suspicion. ATF, state police are at the scene along with Redford investigators all day including flying a drone over top and taking measurements.

FOX 2 was also told DTE has not serviced this house for gas since 2004.

Police say is appears to be a horrible accident and that it was likely nothing criminal.