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Taylor Hardware Store Explodes

Store Manager, Firefighters Have Close Call

POSTED: 2:25 pm EST December 20, 2005
UPDATED: 5:47 pm EST December 20, 2005

TAYLOR, Mich. -- An explosion and gas leak left smoke and flames hovering over a strip mall in Taylor on Tuesday afternoon, according to the Taylor Police Department and Local 4 reports.

The explosion occurred at a Security Ace Hardware store located on Eureka Road, west of Telegraph Road, Local 4 reported. Contractors were removing a kerosene tank from the ground behind the hardware store, and noticed a gas leak, according to the station's reports.

DTE Energy crews were called to inspect the leak, and an explosion occurred about a half hour later, Local 4 reported.

"I thought a bomb went off," said witness Doug Cloutier, who was across the street at Goddard Auto Repair.

Ace Hardware assistant manager Norm Davidson said he was checking the door of the store and turned toward his car when "the force of the explosion blew me out into the parking lot."

The owner of neighboring store AM Leather, Jackie Rusoom, said she heard the explosion and saw Davidson "bounce" across the parking lot. She said emergency crews told her and other patrons of the strip mall to move their cars and get out of the way.

Two Taylor firefighters were posting caution tape around the strip mall when the blast occurred, according to Taylor Fire Chief Vince Fedel. He said it was a "matter of inches" that saved the firefighters.

Davidson, who also had a close call, said it was his "lucky day."

The strip mall damage is a total loss, Local 4 reported.

There were no reports of injuries.

Police closed Eureka Road at Telegraph Road while firefighters extinguished the blaze and the scene was cleared, according to the station's reports. Pardee, Northline, Beech Daly and Pennsylvania roads were suggested as alternate routes.

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