GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Neighbors said they wonder if a call to DTE Energy could have prevented the Tuesday explosion and fire that leveled a northeast Grand Rapids home — but no one who reported smelling the gas called the energy provider.
Neighbors in the area of North Park Court and Cheney Avenue NE called 911 Monday night because they smelled natural gas. Firefighters who responded to the scene didn’t smell anything and left around 9:52 p.m. No one called DTE Energy.
At 1:16 p.m. Tuesday, neighbors again called 911. This time, it was because a house in the area had exploded and then caught fire. When the flames died down, all that was left standing was part of the garage.
Fire officials noted that the neighbors had smelled gas the night before and stressed that they should have called the gas company.
A neighbor told 24 Hour News 8 Wednesday she assumed when the fire department left on Monday night that everything would be fine. She wonders if things might have been different.
“I am not looking to place blame on either the citizens or anyone else,” Roger Royer from DTE Energy said.
But, he said, “if you smell gas, give us a call.”
“That is the reason that we add the odorant to the gas, so that it alerts you,” Royer explained.
Grand Rapids Fire Department Acting Deputy Chief Kevin Sehlmeyer said the Monday night call came from up the street. He said firefighters spent time with neighbors and no one smelled the gas again.
Then, he said, neighbors told him while he was responding to the explosion that they had again smelled gas at 5 a.m. Again, no one called the gas company.
Both Sehlmeyer and Royer agree the incident should serve as a reminder to call the gas company anytime you get a whiff.
The DTE Energy number for gas emergencies is 800.947.5000. The Consumers Energy number for gas emergencies is 800.477.5050.