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'The fire was... coming from hell': Flames refuse to extinguish at Warren mobile home complex

Posted at 4:29 PM, Dec 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-22 12:15:06-05

WARREN, Mich. (WXYZ) — It was a fire that just wouldn't stop burning at a mobile home complex in Warren, consuming one home and threatening others for hours after it started around 3 a.m.

The blaze happened at Landmark Estates off Dequindre between 8 and 9 Mile Roads.

7 Action News received calls from worried people who lived at the complex because when the mobile home caught fire, flames started shooting out of the gas meter.

“The fire was either coming from hell or from the gas lines,” said resident Dennis Weldrop.

Weldrop was sound asleep inside a Landmark Estates mobile home when he says his back felt hot.

“Felt like it was burning. I woke up, and it was and I just darted out,” said Weldrop.

He made it out barefoot but just in time.

The home was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived and some of those flames refused to be extinguished.

"There was a gas meter on the side of the building that was shut off but there were cracks in the lines from old age and non-usage," said Warren Fire Department Lt. Phil Novak. "So we had a natural gas fire for three hours."

While flames continued to shoot up along the charred remains of the mobile home, Consumers Energy scrambled to find the path of the gas line. They had to dig down deep to reach one they could safely shut off.

Dennis says the gas shouldn’t have been on.

“The gas was shut off see. I shouldn’t have had no gas in there”

But it’s not likely the cause. Officials say the initial fire appears to have started inside the home.

"Sounds like it was a space heater that started the fire," said Lt. Phil Novak.

This time of year, the number of space heater fires increase. Firefighters have a warning.

"If you’re going to use a space heater or a kerosene heater, make sure there’s nothing around that can catch on fire like a Christmas tree or clothes," said Lt. Novak. "Or even near a wall try to keep it in an open space if you’re going to use it."

And make sure your smoke detectors are working. Firefighters say that’s what saved this man's life.