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2 trapped in rubble after US store explodes

 Firefighters respond after an explosion and collapse at the William C. Franks furniture store in Wayne, Mich, Wednesday, Dec. 29,  2010.  (AP Photo /...
 Emergency personnel are on the scene after an explosion and collapse at the William C. Franks furniture store in Wayne, Mich, Wednesday, Dec. 29,  20...
 Firefighters respond after an explosion and collapse at the William C. Franks furniture store in Wayne, Mich, Wednesday, Dec. 29,  2010.  (AP Photo /...
 Fire officials and emergency personnel respond to an explosion at a furniture store in Wayne, Mich., on Wednesday, Dec. 29,  2010. (AP Photo/Detroit ...

Furniture Store-Explosion

Firefighters respond after an explosion and collapse at the William C. Franks furniture store in Wayne, Mich, Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010. (AP Photo /...

Furniture Store-Explosion

Emergency personnel are on the scene after an explosion and collapse at the William C. Franks furniture store in Wayne, Mich, Wednesday, Dec. 29, 20...

Furniture Store-Explosion

Firefighters respond after an explosion and collapse at the William C. Franks furniture store in Wayne, Mich, Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010. (AP Photo /...

Furniture Store Explosion

Fire officials and emergency personnel respond to an explosion at a furniture store in Wayne, Mich., on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010. (AP Photo/Detroit ...

A family-owned furniture store in suburban Detroit exploded and collapsed in what appeared to be a natural gas explosion Wednesday, trapping three people in the rubble.
Rescuers pulled the store's owner from the debris and he was in critical condition, Wayne City Manager John Zech said at a news conference. Search and rescue teams continued to hunt for two others, who police said are employees at the William C. Franks store.
"They're dealing with a lot of debris," said Inkster Deputy Police Chief Hilton Napoleon, who was assisting other officers in below-freezing temperatures at the scene. "They've got to be careful so they don't cause any more explosions. You don't know if there are any other flammables in there."
Wayne Deputy Fire Chief Shawn Bell said rescue crews were dialing the cell phones of the people presumed buried beneath the rubble in the hope that the sound of the phones ringing would help locate them. Those efforts have not been successful.
Groups of firefighters entered the building four and five at a time, scraping away at the rubble using long poles with hooks on the end. Video footage shot from TV helicopters hovering over the scene showed dozens of rescuers working on and around the remains of the store.
Police evacuated homes and businesses near the store in Wayne, some 15 miles (24 kilometers) from Detroit.
The massive blast shattered windows at nearby businesses. The one-story once-sprawling building was reduced to a pile of wood, crumbled drywall, and twisted metal with broken bits of furniture scattered about.
"We're pretty sure natural gas is involved," Consumers Energy spokeswoman Debra Dodd said.
The utility received a call of a possible gas leak in the area several hours before the blast and a worker had been trying to track down the source when the explosion took place, Dodd said.
She said the gas main to the building was shut off Wednesday morning and another line in the area was closed later in the day after utility crews found a second leak Wednesday afternoon. The nearby city hall and additional homes were evacuated as a precaution because of the second leak.
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Associated Press writers Jeff Karoub in Wayne and Corey Williams, David Aguilar and Randi Berris in Detroit contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-03-06 17:03 GMT+08:00