UPDATED: Royal Oak Explosion, Residents See 'Roof Blown Off in the Sky'

At least one man has died after a house exploded on Cooper near Nakota in Royal Oak.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new information.

9:40 p.m.: Royal Oak Police Chief Corrigan O'Donohue confirmed a 58-year-old man was fatally injured in an explosion in the 4200 block of Cooper Avenue in Royal Oak on Wednesday afternoon.

The man was found on the front lawn and is believed to have been inside the house at the time of the explosion, O'Donohue said.

"One other person suffered injuries and was treated on the scene," he said.

9:30 p.m.: Consumers Energy released a statement tonight saying its workers were replacing gas mains in the area near the explosion. They are putting residents up in a Troy hotel for the night. Read the complete story here.

7:30 p.m.: It was a scene of fire and ice Wednesday on Cooper just south of Nakota in Royal Oak as firefighters battled flames after a house appeared to have exploded, shattering windows up and down the street and around the corner and damaging another home next door.

A law enforcement officer on the scene one block east of Woodward Avenue near Joe's Army Navy told onlookers to back up due to concerns over gas in the area and a pair of helicopters circled in the air as television news crews flocked to the corner.

Fox 2 News reported that police have confirmed an adult male is deceased, but it is unclear whether he was in the home at the time of the blast or nearby.

"We were standing here and we heard a big boom and my first thought was someone hit the building," said James Greenway of Royal Oak, who was working at Joe's Army Navy when the incident occurred. The explosion blew out the window at the army surplus shop.

Greenway said he ran out of the building to see if anyone needed help and then ducked back inside to tell a co-worker there was an explosion and to call 911.

Greenway, a 2012 Royal Oak High School graduate and an Eagle Scout, said that when he went back to the scene, he told onlookers to clear out and, "I heard a lady crying out of the house."

He said he ran inside the house next door to the one that expoded and was able to bring the woman, who said she was the only person in the home, out to safety with the help of another bystander, according to Greenway.

"She was just shaken up. She looked OK," he said. "Some neighbors took her into their house."

Greenway said he was unsure whether anyone was inside the home that exploded.

Firefighters from Royal Oak and Birmingham continued to battle bright orange flames into the early evening, as anxious onlookers huddled in small groups on the slushy sidewalks and in snowy lawns behind police tape.

Royal Oak Police said they will be releasing information soon.


5:56 p.m.: A house exploded in Royal Oak on Cooper Avenue near Nakota Road around 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, killing at least one man.

Fox 2 News reported that police have confirmed an adult male is deceased, but it is unclear whether he was in the home at the time of the blast or nearby.

Police officials are urging people to stay away from the area as they are concerned that a secondary explosion could occur. 

Katie Picard, an employee at Caribou Coffee, was working two blocks away when she heard the explosion and thought a car had hit the coffee shop. She looked out the window across Woodward Avenue to see a mushroom cloud over the home, she said.

Many Royal Oak Patch readers are commenting that they felt the blast. Larry Baker posted that he felt his house shake in the neighborhood by Memorial Park near Coolidge and Normandy.

Lisa Wynn posted "Heard it and felt it at 13 1/2 and coolidge. My whole house shook. That was just horrible."

Bradford Neil commented, "Yes, I felt it, too. I live near 13 mile and Woodward (Amherst-Highfield area). My entire house shook. I grabbed my coat and ran outside to check if anything had hit the house. I hope nobody was injured in the explosion."

"It shook the houses in our neighborhood and we saw flames and part of a roof blown off in the sky," said Suzanne Manji.

Royal Oak Patch Editor Judy Davids is on scene trying to get more information.

More details will be posted when available.

Jason Alexander (Editor) February 27, 2013 at 10:58 PM
Did you feel or hear the blast?
Charity February 27, 2013 at 11:02 PM
We didn't though we are close but my mother in law saw it on the news and called to make sure we were ok.
Alisa D. Grossman February 27, 2013 at 11:22 PM
My kids heard it at 14 Mile & Rochester in Clawson.
Christine Bender February 27, 2013 at 11:33 PM
I heard something around 5p. Is that when it happened? I'm at 14 and Main in Clawson, so it seems too far, but if the blast were big enough it's possible.
Judy Davids (Editor) February 27, 2013 at 11:36 PM
Yes. Christine it is possible. My son felt it and we live near Main and Catalpa.
Kelly Curry February 28, 2013 at 12:30 AM
I live near Rochester and 13. I heard it that far away. It made me jump and it sounded as if someone slammed my door but I was the only one home.
Nina February 28, 2013 at 01:20 AM
We definitely heard it downtown Birmingham. It was a muffled boom with a mild shock wave against the southern facing windows. I turned on the news in my office because I knew something had happened.
Cat Chickie February 28, 2013 at 01:26 AM
Live at 16 and Coolidge and it shook our windows. The boom was loud enough for a bunch of neighbors to go outside to investigate.
Melissa G. February 28, 2013 at 01:31 AM
We heard it at 15 and Rochester in our home, and felt it a bit too. We thought a vehicle must have hit a building nearby, but then we didn't hear sirens afterward. I still can't believe we heard and felt it this far away. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families.
Teresa Mask (Editor) February 28, 2013 at 01:35 AM
Thank you, Jeff Hailer, for uploading some scene photos!
Nana Darko February 28, 2013 at 01:56 AM
yes i did and i actually thought it was just an earth tremor. this is really sad.
Michele Moore February 28, 2013 at 02:06 AM
We heard and felt it in the Vinsetta/Crooks area.
Tim H February 28, 2013 at 02:33 AM
This is very sad. I hope nobody else was seriously hurt. However, I am happy to read about the readiness of fellow Royal-Oakers to help each other out. We have some great people in this town.
Teresa Mask (Editor) February 28, 2013 at 02:58 AM
It's still unclear what caused the explosion. Consumers Energy released a statement tonight saying they were replacing gas mains in the area. The explosion is under investigation. Here is Judy's story: http://royaloak.patch.com/articles/royal-oak-neighborhood-evacuated-consumers-energy-puts-up-residents-in-area-hotel
Melissa February 28, 2013 at 02:59 AM
Stefan, you're a complete moron for posting a flippant comment on this string. Grow up! A person perished in this incident, and you want to be a comedian.
Melissa February 28, 2013 at 03:02 AM
I hope the person who lost their home sues you Theodore Gibson for slander.
J. Maxwell February 28, 2013 at 03:17 AM
Please go troll somewhere else Theodore Gibson. You are being completely disrepectful to the deceased's family, and all those who have been impacted by this community tragedy. Please just stop posting.
Carmella February 28, 2013 at 03:45 AM
We Live three streets over , and we saw a big orange flash and our house shook so hard that the pots hanging over my kitchen Island start to sway
Stacy Thompson February 28, 2013 at 03:48 AM
I live at 16 and Coolidge and I heard the boom. I thought it was possibly a transmitter because of the ice and snow... so sad!
Bill Atkinson February 28, 2013 at 03:51 AM
I thought I hit someone driving just north of normandy on Woodward ave. Boom and car moved but no cars were around. When I stopped there were blown out windows at the Rim Shop, stopped to help but they were all ok. Scary
J. Maxwell February 28, 2013 at 04:41 AM
Thank you Patch for deleting Theodore Gibson's dispicable comments.
Tiff S February 28, 2013 at 05:07 AM
I live near 14mile and Campbell. I heard a loud boom when I was outside shoveling snow. I assumed it was construction going on somewhere. 15 minutes later my aunt calls to check on me and informed me there was a house explosion. So sad and scary.
Klash February 28, 2013 at 01:59 PM
I live near Van Dyke and 26 Mile and heard it.
Laura Harrison February 28, 2013 at 02:41 PM
Just got home from work and was in the kitchen when I heard the boom. I thought it was either a tree falling or another problem at the Edison station on Webster. I live just south of 13 Mile, east of Woodward.
Maureen February 28, 2013 at 05:01 PM
My house shook. I thought a tree may have fallen on my house. I live about 1 1/2 miles away. I drove by today to leave flowers for the man that passed away. I couldn't get near the home but the man that lives across the street said he would get them as close as he could. He was not allowed to go back home until some time today. It was pretty sad to see the amount of destruction to not only the home but all those around it. I hope everyone else is safe. To the man's family: so sorry for your loss.


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