Blast Destroys Detroit Restaurant; Probe Underway

June 09--An explosion early today destroyed Jack's Coney Island on 7 Mile east of Telegraph Road in northwest Detroit, and a DTE Energy crew is at the scene digging up the gas line.

Owner Jack Nucalaj, 56, was at the scene this morning with an employee, digging bags of change from the debris.

He doesn't expect to salvage anything.

"I don't think you can get a dollar out of this," he said, adding that steel tables were blackened and twisted in the rubble.

Firefighters responded to the report of a building explosion shortly after 2 a.m. Monday. Nobody was injured, and an investigation into the fire's cause is under way, said Chief Dale Bradley with Detroit Fire Department.

Nucalaj said he received a call at 2 a.m. from the security alarm company saying there appeared to be a power problem at the restaurant.

Nucalaj drove there and saw fire "high to the sky," with fire engines already on the scene.

He said he doesn't know how the fire started or what could have caused the explosion. He said he was last there at 8 a.m. Sunday, when a company that came to clean the ducts was just leaving.

He said he and the duct-cleaning company had shut everything off for four hours by the time they all left the building.

Nucalaj said he's operated the business for 26 years.

Contact Robert Allen at or @rallenMI

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