Web Stories Sunday, April 21

An enormous fire at a warehouse in Michigan containing vape products and gas canisters was brought under control in the early hours of Tuesday, authorities confirmed, after it had rained down debris as far as a mile away.

The fire sent flames and debris spewing high into the sky in Clinton Township, Macomb County, a suburb north of Detroit. Emergency services were called at 8.50 p.m. Monday to a building owned by a business called Select Distributors.

“We can not stress enough the danger that is happening right now. Please, please, please stay inside and out of the vicinity,” sad a statement from the Clinton Township Police Department on Facebook. “Debris is being projected into the air and coming down as far as a mile away from the explosion. As we do not know what is burning, we do not know the effects of the smoke/air right now, so please stay out of the area and stay safe.”

NBC News affiliate WDIV of Detroit received calls from viewers who could hear a series of explosions as far as the town of Troy, 15 miles to the west, in neighboring Oakland County.

Some callers said that items inside their homes rattled and shook from the vibrations, while others asked whether the explosions were gunfire or fireworks.

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel told WDIV after 11 p.m. Monday that the fire was under control.

One firefighter was injured by an exploding canister and a bystander received minor injuries and was treated in a local hospital, police said.

Clinton Fire Chief Tim Duncan told reporters in a phone call that no one was in the building at the time of the fire, and debris were primarily from 12 inch metal canisters, each weighing a few pounds.

“The building is almost completely burned down. Firefighters were unable to access it due to the hundreds, if not thousands of explosions occurring,” he said.

Local residents were told to stay inside with their windows closed.

Eyewitnesses who captured the scene from afar and posted footage to social media with the sound of multiple, sustained explosions as projectiles shot out into the sky. One person said the explosions continued for more than half an hour.

Police and the fire service requested the help of other local police agencies and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives because the business was “known to stock combustible materials.”

Police and firefighters were on the scene through the early hours of Tuesday and removed debris from surrounding roads.

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