PITTSFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Multiple projectile explosions and a large fire at a Pittsfield Township welding facility Thursday prompted evacuations and freeway closures.
The first fire crews responded to Ann Arbor Welding on Carpenter Road in the afternoon to find heavy fire and smoke coming from multiple explosions in the back of the building.
Fire crews found a 2000-gallon propane tank was on fire along with several smaller propane, butane and acetelyne tanks. Everyone in the building was safely evacuated.
A second large propane tank and a 30,000-gallon butane tank that were exposed to the fire prompted an evacuation of a one mile and the closure of US-23 for a short period.
Smaller tanks also began to explode becoming projectiles and putting anyone at risk within the danger area.
Once the area was deemed safe to work in, crews cooled the tanks and applied firefighting foam to the areas where flammable liquids were still burning. One of the large capacity propane tanks was venting product that is being allowed to burn off while crews stand by and monitor the situation.
Damage to the tanks and outside equipment was severe, but the building suffered only minor damage and no injuries were reported.