Detroit industrial plant fire causes multiple explosions that rocked suburbs and sent debris flying a mile away



A fire raging at an industrial facility caused multiple explosions that rocked suburban Detroit on Monday night and sent debris shooting far into the air, prompting police to implore residents to stay inside.

The debris fell as far as a mile (1.6 kilometers) away, the Clinton Township Police Department said on Facebook. Authorities said they didn’t know exactly what was burning or the potential health effects from it.

“We can not stress enough the danger that is happening right now,” one police post said. “Please, please, please stay inside and out of the vicinity.”

Police said the fire was burning near 15 Mile Road and Groesbeck Highway. News helicopter videos showed a massive, bright orange area of fire with bursts of flames within the blaze that looked like explosions.

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel told WDIV-TV late Monday that the explosions started around 9 p.m. at the Select Distributors plant and that Clinton Township officers and firefighters immediately responded.

“They understand some type of CO2 or propane explosions were taking place at the facility, and again, it was just continuous explosions, as well as the fire,” Hackel said.

After 11 p.m., he told the news outlet that the fire had been contained.

“Their concern right now is — obviously they’re taming the fire, but now, what’s going on with that air quality?” Hackel said. “We have a HAZMAT unit that’s out trying to test the air quality so we can get further updates.”

Kevin Felster told The Detroit News he was on his way to Clinton Township when he saw the fire and heard the explosions. He said he got out of his car and saw pieces of metal — from the size of a spray can to the size of a car wheel — on the ground.

“It was heavy stuff and it was all charred black,” Felster said. “I guarantee you … if that came flying through the air at any velocity at all, it would just shatter your head like nothing.”

It wasn’t immediately known if anyone was injured.

Select Distributors is a wholesale supplier of novelties, phone accessories and other merchandise to discount stores, dollar stores, wholesalers and other stores, according to its website.

The business didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Joleen Vultaggio said she heard the explosions from 8 miles (12.8 kilometers) away at her home in Sterling Heights.

“It just freaked me out because it wasn’t like one boom, it was continuous and it was very intense,” she said.

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