Clinton Township Police Chief Dina Caringi talks about how Goo Smoke Shop owner Noor Noel Kestou was apprehended at an April 26 press conference.

Clinton Township Police Chief Dina Caringi talks about how Goo Smoke Shop owner Noor Noel Kestou was apprehended at an April 26 press conference.

Photo by Nick Powers

Smoke shop owner charged in connection to fatal fire

Police say Noor Noel Kestou was arrested before flight to Hong Kong

By: Nick Powers | C&G Newspapers | Published April 27, 2024

 Noor Noel Kestou

Noor Noel Kestou


CLINTON TOWNSHIP — A smoke shop owner whose business caught fire and exploded in March, showering the area near 15 Mile Road and Groesbeck Highway with debris and killing a 19-year-old Clinton Township man, was arraigned April 25 on an involuntary manslaughter charge. Prior to the arraignment, he was reportedly apprehended with a one-way ticket to Hong Kong.

Noor Noel Kestou, a 31-year-old Commerce Township resident, is the owner of the Goo Smoke Shop. Kestou’s business exploded during a fire on March 4, 2024. Thousands of cans of nitrous oxide and butane were stored in the building, according to a press release from the office of Macomb County Prosecuting Attorney Peter Lucido.

The manslaughter charge carries a maximum sentence of 1 5 years.

At an April 26 press conference, Lucido said the highest charge possible was pursued given the evidence available.

“We all feel the need at this time to be not only sympathetic, but also mindful of this event and for it to never happen again,” Lucido said.

Clinton Township Police Chief Dina Caringi said the arrest followed a six-week investigation.

On April 20, detectives received information that Kestou had a one-way ticket to Hong Kong, and that he was due to depart that same day.

“Detectives immediately met with the Macomb County prosecutor in which a decision was made, due to the evidence presented, to authorize an arrest warrant for one count of involuntary manslaughter for Mr. Kestou,” Caringi said.

After the warrant was authorized, detectives contacted authorities in New York. Hours later, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, along with the New York Port Authority, confirmed Kestou was apprehended there without incident.

Lucido said Kestou was in transit to Hong Kong via New York. Kestou didn’t have a warrant before attempting to use his passport, which is currently being held by authorities in New York. Lucido said charges would have been brought against Kestou even if he wasn’t trying to leave the country. He called the timing of the arrest a “blessing” due to the diligent work of the Clinton Township Police Department.

Kestou was arraigned in 41B District Court by Magistrate Ryan Zemke. His bond was set at $500,000 cash or surety only. If released, Kestou must wear a GPS tether, surrender his passport, not leave the state and have no weapons. A probable cause hearing is scheduled for May 7 at 8:30 a.m. before District Court Judge Sebastian Lucido.

Defense attorney James C. Thomas is representing Kestou. The attorney had “no comment” on the case.


‘Loud explosions’ and ‘flying debris’
Clinton Township Police Operations Capt. Anthony Coppola said the dispatchers were flooded with 911 calls at 8:50 p.m. about the March 4 explosion. He said it took 24 hours for multiple fire departments to get control of the blaze.

“The loud explosions remained continuous, pelting first responders with flying debris,” Coppola said.

Coppola said at 9:31 p.m., an officer reported a person injured at 15 Mile and Beaconsfield Street, a quarter of a mile from the scene. This was 19-year-old Turner Salter, who died from his injuries. A press release from the prosecutor’s office said Salter was killed by a nitrous oxide canister.

“Our partners at the Clinton Township Fire Department would spend well over a week monitoring and extinguishing sporadic explosions, pop-up fires and continual smoke at the scene,” Coppola said. “This was like nothing any of us had ever seen and hope to never encounter again.”

Clinton Township Fire Chief Tim Duncan said the investigation is still ongoing. He said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is the lead investigator with Michigan State Police, township police and township fire investigators lending assistance. He said investigators believe the fire started at the southwest corner of the building.

“At this stage they are still at the undetermined aspect of it, but they cannot exclude human involvement in this fire at this time,” Duncan said. “They would still like more investigation, more information to come from some of the witnesses. Some of that is still coming out.”

Duncan added that the Environmental Protection Agency is working to quickly get the site cleaned up. He said more than 3,100 canisters of nitrous oxide were found at the site by the EPA.

He said that the amount of butane at the site, combined with the nitrous oxide, mainly contributed to the explosion. He said bedding and clothing in the building acted as accelerants.

“Just simply the gas load alone is what caused this,” Duncan said.

He said the amount of butane and nitrous oxide at the site indicated that it was being sold to other entities.

“With the qualities that he had in this building, he’s sending them somewhere,” Duncan said. “Now it’s the time to uncover, where are they going?”

Clinton Township Supervisor Bob Cannon thanked all the parties involved in the investigation. He said the investigation took a long time to make sure it was done right. He came out in favor of laws being changed at the state level for greater regulations on similar businesses.

“We want to stop it from happening anywhere else,” Cannon said.

Clinton Township Building Superintendent Barry Miller confirmed that much of this would have to be changed at the state level. He did say that ordinances for licensing requirements could potentially be changed by the township. He said his department had no complaints.

However, Duncan said the Clinton Township Fire Department had received a complaint prior to the explosion. He said this was after the initial inspection of the property.

“We had an issue with a fire suppression system,” Duncan said. “At that point, they did not have these materials in their building.”

Duncan said his department has been going to businesses with similar materials and asking to do voluntary inspections to make sure the materials are safely stored. He said owners have also let the department remove materials that exceed the recommended amount.

“The majority of them will allow that,” said Duncan about the inspections. “They’ve been very cooperative.”