Man Crashes into Lansing, Michigan Apartments, Triggers Gas Explosion

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- A man crashed his car into an apartment building Tuesday, rupturing a natural gas line and causing an explosion that destroyed much of the building and injured at least two people.

The center section of the 35-unit building in the southwest part of the city exploded about 3:30 p.m., and it took as many as 75 firefighters at least five hours to contain and extinguish the inferno.

Search-and-rescue teams were planning to spend the night securing and combing through the debris, looking for survivors or bodies, said Lansing Fire Capt. John Dyer. Authorities said they didn't know yet if anyone had died.

``It's a matter of, we're not going to say it's all clear until we know it's all clear,'' Dyer said Tuesday night.

Resident April Garvie said she saw the car hit the apartments.

``There was a guy in a black Thunderbird and he was squealing his tires,'' she told WJBK-TV in Detroit. ``His car either let off the brake or something, and he ran right into the building.''

The fire destroyed all her belongings, she said.

``My car is gone, my house is gone, everything that was in it is gone _ everything,'' Garvie said.

Two people were reported injured Tuesday night. The car's driver was rushed to a hospital, where his condition was not immediately known, said Lansing police Lt. Bruce Ferguson. He told WLAJ-TV in Lansing that a resident jumped from an upper floor and broke an arm.

Dyer said rescue crews were called to the scene of what was reported as a car hitting a building. They began pounding on the doors of roughly eight apartments in the immediate area after they realized the gas main had been hit. They received no response from the apartments, but the building exploded before they had a chance to go back and force their way in, he said.

Ferguson told WXYZ-TV in Detroit that crews extricated the driver before the blast.

``The car blew up and the building blew up,'' Ferguson said.

The blaze collapsed the center section of the building, but left the two ends standing, though no portion of the building is inhabitable, Dyer said.

He said the building's manager has found affected tenants temporary homes in other apartments in the area.