Two dead, 1 injured in Michigan explosion

By Bernie Woodall

DETROIT (BestGrowthStock) – Two people were killed and another seriously injured on Wednesday after an explosion apparently caused by a gas leak ripped through a Wayne, Michigan, furniture store, officials and local media said.

Rescue workers pulled the body of a missing female store employee from the rubble some 14 hours after the 9 a.m. explosion at the single-story building in suburban Detroit, according to city fire superintendent Mel Moore.

Moore said the deceased woman was 54 years old but did not release her name. Earlier, salesman James Zell, 64, was found dead inside the building after a day of searching.

Paul Franks, 64, whose family owns the furniture store, was rescued from the rubble of the store minutes after the blast, said Wayne city manager John Zech.

Franks was in serious but stable condition on Wednesday night at the burn unit at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Zech told reporters.

Franks had told rescuers there were two employees inside the store at the time of the explosion, which occurred as the store opened for business on Wednesday.

Consumers Energy, a gas and power utility, said its workers were responding to reports of natural gas odor before the explosion. A utility spokeswoman said workers found two separate leaks near the store after the explosion and shut those lines.

About 20 nearby homes and several businesses and municipal buildings were evacuated. There were no other explosions.

City and utility officials said on Wednesday afternoon that they believed that any danger from gas leaks was over.

Wayne, with a population of about 20,000, is located about 20 miles west of downtown Detroit.

(Reporting by Bernie Woodall and Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Jerry Norton and Peter Bohan)

Two dead, 1 injured in Michigan explosion