Marshall house fire, explosions send 8 to the hospital

Calhoun County

MARSHALL, Mich. (WOOD) — Investigators are blaming an explosion and fire in Marshall that injured eight people, including a toddler, and tore a home off its foundation on a natural gas leak.

Neighbors living near the intersection of Clinton and Maple streets were awoken around 1:45 a.m. by the explosion and cries for help from the people who escaped from the home.   

Ring doorbell video captured the flash from the explosion through the early morning fog. Audio for the camera picked up the chaos as neighbors ran to help. Another person recorded the scene on a cellphone.

“Everybody out of there?” one neighbor can be heard yelling in the video.

“Get help!” shouted another.

“We stepped outside, heard people screaming, ‘Somebody help me! My baby, My baby!'” Haleigh Kaser recalled while speaking to News 8 later Monday.

She and Damien Youngblood live two doors down from the home. While Youngblood dialed 911, Kaser ran toward the home.

“My instincts just said, you know, somebody’s screaming, ‘Help me, my baby,'” Kaser said. “I ran up. I grabbed the baby from her. I put the mom and the baby in the car and ran them up to the hospital.”

The eight victims were sent to the hospital with various injuries, some to Oaklawn Hospital and others to Bronson General Hospital in Kalamazoo, firefighters say. Neighbors helped take some of the victims to the hospital. Three had been released by Monday afternoon.

Police confirmed the victims include a 27-year-old woman and her 2-year-old, two 38-year-old men and a 43-year-old woman. A 35-year-old woman, a 36-year-old man and a 10-year-old boy have already been released from the hospital.

The house was engulfed in flames but everyone had escaped by the time fire crews arrived. As of around 4 a.m., the fire was out, but the house was a total loss. A neighboring home was also damaged.

“I’ve got to be honest, it was miraculous that all of them were able to get out,” Marshall Fire Chief Martin Esrkine said.

He said the cause of the explosion and fire appears to be accidental.

“The explosion was caused, most likely, by a natural gas leak,” he said. “The house was under some renovations. Not sure of that is the cause of the leak or something else at this time.”

Back on Clinton Street, neighbors worried, wondered and said a few prayers for those injured by the blast.

“I just know it was horrible,” neighbor Patty Bischoff said. “I just pray for the eight people… It’s horrible.”

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