A garage of a home on Frost Drive caught fire after officials say an air compressor shorted out.

A garage of a home on Frost Drive caught fire after officials say an air compressor shorted out.

Photo by Alex Szwarc

Family eludes injury after garage explosion in Macomb Township

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published April 19, 2021


MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Fire officials believe an air compressor shorted out, causing a fire and explosions at a Macomb Township home.

Around 4 p.m. on Easter, April 4, units from the Macomb Township Fire Department responded to a fire at a home in the 55500 block of Frost Drive, near 25 Mile and Broughton roads.

“The owner stated they heard some noises in the garage that didn’t sound right,” Macomb Township Fire Chief Robert Phillips said. “They looked in the garage and saw fire around the area of the air compressor. They closed the door and tried to get some fire extinguishers.”

Phillips said the initial 911 call was made by the homeowners. All four township fire stations responded, with about 16 personnel on site.

“The initial crew reported heavy fire in the garage upon their arrival,” Phillips said. “They pulled the garage door down and got water on it right away to get the fire knocked down.”

He said the homeowners heard some explosions, which more than likely were aerosol cans located on a shelf next to where the fire started.

“They opened the door back up, and the fire had grown significantly,” he said. “The car was now on fire, so they closed the door, got everyone out and called 911.”

At that point, the car was parked in the garage. It was later moved to the driveway, charred with all the windows blown out.

“It appears the air compressor shorted out, which started the fire,” Phillips said.  

He added the air compressor was not in use at the time of the fire. Phillips notes a grill and a propane tank were removed from the garage.

“The pressure release valve on the tank activated prior to our arrival,” he said. “The fire was contained to the garage, and there was smoke damage throughout the home but no fire damage elsewhere.”

Phillips believes that four or six individuals were inside the home at the time of the fire, as well as a couple of dogs. Everyone escaped.

Pam St. Peter lives around the corner from the home, on Olden Way Drive.

She and her family were outside for an Easter gathering when they heard an explosion.

“We all just kind of stopped,” St. Peter said. “My mom asked, ‘What was that?’ And we thought it came from the 26 and Broughton area.”

Ruling out that it was fireworks, St. Peter’s family thought it was concerning.

“I called 911 and said we heard what we’re 99% sure was an explosion,” she explained. “While on the phone, we heard a second explosion. Then we knew something was going on. When you hear two explosions close by, it’s super scary.”

Not seeing any smoke in the area, the family returned to their backyard.

“Then I walked around to the front of my house, and you could see smoke coming up through the vents of the house,” St. Peter said. “I didn’t want to turn the corner because I know so many people on that street and was afraid to look.”

Prior to fire crews arriving, St. Peter saw smoke and flames coming from the garage.

“The garage was fully engulfed before the first fire truck arrived,” she said. “It was fast and slow at the same time.”  

Like all other appliances, Phillips said his safety advice for air compressors is that when they’re not in use, unplug them.