WAYNE, Mich. - A furniture store in suburban Detroit exploded and collapsed Wednesday morning, leaving at least two people trapped in the rubble. A third person has been rescued and is in critical condition.
Police evacuated residents from homes and businesses near the William C. Franks furniture store in Wayne City. The massive blast at about 9 a.m. was felt as much as a mile away. Windows were shattered at nearby businesses.
"It was like 'ba-boom!'" said 47-year-old Lisa Johns, who rushed to the furniture store from her home a mile away. Johns said she was watching television in bed when she felt the explosion. "It sounded like a bomb," she said. "The power went off and came back on two or three minutes later." At least one person was pulled from the collapsed building, Wayne City Manager John Zech told WWJ-AM. He said at least three people had been trapped inside.
University of Michigan Hospital spokeswoman Christy Barnes told The Associated Press that Paul Franks had been taken to the Ann Arbor facility after the explosion and that he is in critical condition. Barnes said she did not know if other patients were expected.
"We're pretty sure natural gas is involved," Consumers Energy spokeswoman Debra Dodd said. "We're working to get it shut off." The family-owned furniture shop is in the heart of Wayne's business district.
Wayne, which lies some 15 miles west-southwest of Detroit, is home to 19,000 people. "I'm a dead sleeper. My whole house shook. I thought a car ran into my house," said 22-year-old Barbara Tackett, who rushed to the scene in her pajama pants.
Natalie Rhaesa lives about four blocks away, and said all of her windows shook. "My husband went outside to see, and all the neighbors were outside and they felt the same thing," Rhaesa said. Alicia Marnon, 65, of Wayne said the furniture store has been around for more than 40 years.
Standing at the corner of Wayne Road and Glenwood about 100 yards from the destroyed building, Marnon said, "It's devastating. All of my furniture is from there. It's good quality and the people are nice. It's their personal touch. I go there and pay a little more."
Associated Press writers Corey Williams, David Aguilar and Randi Berris in Detroit contributed to this report.