Ferndale, MI- “Fire Marshal Brian Batten of the Ferndale Fire Department reports that an explosion and subsequent fire occurred this afternoon at a building located at 3281 Hilton Rd,” according to a press release by the City of Ferndale.
“Fire and rescue officials from five local agencies are working now to extinguish the fire, which is mostly under control at this point. Hilton Rd. is completely closed between Woodward Heights and 10 Mile.
“It is essential that people avoid the immediate area to allow our professionals to get the situation under control safely and expediently,” said Fire Marshal Batten.
Residents living behind the fire should stay out of their back yards. “We stress that residents and nearby businesses are safe and there is no danger of the fire spreading,” Batten said. “But we worry about burning or collapse of overhead power lines in situations like this. Best for neighboring residents to stay indoors and out of harm’s way.”
Batten added that the fire is producing a lot of smoke. “If you’re near the area, we would recommend closing windows and doors.”
Batten said that the explosion and fire appear to have been caused by an illegal hash oil production operation. An individual was using propane to produce hash oil, which spilled and created an explosion and fire. The individual received significant second- and third-degree burns and was taken to Detroit Receiving Hospital.
After the fire was out, Batten waited outside for another firefighter so they could do the inspection together. “I don’t want the roof to cave in on me without someone else there,” he told Oakland County Times. Patches of sunlight shone though holes in the roof. Everything inside appeared charred. He showed a video of the firefighters’ efforts. “When we showed up, it didn’t look that bad from the front. You can see our guys shooting through the window, but when we went around back you can see that’s where all the flames were.”
Two of the firefighters rode with the ambulance to take the occupant to the hospital, prompting the call for other departments to come in and assist. Ferndale and neighboring communities have a mutual aid agreement so they often respond to each others’ fires.
This story will be updated through the evening with more details and pictures.