'Scrapping' believed to be cause of house explosion in Flint - WNEM TV 5

'Scrapping' believed to be cause of house explosion in Flint

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Metal thieves, people who trip abandoned homes for parts, appear to be who caused an explosion that rocked a Mid-Michigan neighborhood early Tuesday morning.

"It almost cost me my life," said Robert Pepatone.

He was asleep on his couch Monday night when a house across the street exploded.

"I woke up to glass all over me and my dog whining. First thing I did was grab her and make sure she was ok, you know what else could I do. I had to walk through my house bare feet with glass everywhere," he said.

The vacant house on the corner of Markham and Irving in Flint blew up Monday night around midnight. The explosion sent shock waves, and caused damage to almost every house in the neighborhood. All but one of the homes had windows broken. 

Mike Clark's windows remained intact.

"On both sides of me and all the way down the street. That house took a heck of a beating. We've got angels around our house," he said.

His house took a little hit.

"The concussion, it blew my doors open. Blew the door jams right out," Clark said.

Consumers Energy said someone stealing pipes from the home may be responsible for the blast. Neighbors said they saw people around the house Monday night, possibly taking the metal for scrap.

The people from Consumers Energy said everybody in the neighborhood is incredibly lucky, after the house explosion. If that explosion was caused due to scrapping, Consumers Energy has a couple of words for the public. 

"Scrapping pipes out of homes is not only dangerous for the scrappers, but it's dangerous for the entire neighborhood. Their lack of judgment could have caused massive destruction beyond that single house," said Kevin Keane, area manager for Consumers Energy.

Pepatone said he's glad someone had an eye on him last night.

"My mother and father was watching over me. That's the only thing I can think of," he said.

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