Friday, July 17, 2009

{I-75 and Nine Mile overpass explosion}

The last month
has been very, very unusual. It started the end of June when our neighbor, Betty, passed away in her sleep. She was widowed and lived an incredibly active life. Her surrounding neighbors were astounded by her death.

Jump ahead a few weeks: a car and Amtrak train collide. The crash was a direct result from a 19-year-old male driver trying to skip around the train track gates. He had four passengers; everyone died. Such a sad, sad story. You can read about it here.

Then, on Wednesday morning, an alleged gas leak caused a home to explode.


Then the worst of them all.

A tanker truck exploded on Interstate 75 and Nine Mile Road, less than a mile from my home.

I remember sitting at my iMac, waiting for Zack to get home. He was out-of-town and traveling I-75. The lights were flickering. Then I heard a helicopter flying overhead. It sounded awfully loud. I could hear the neighbors gathering outside, in front of my house and the neighbors. Curious, I walked outside and asked Doug what was going on. He told me a fuel tanker had exploded at I-75 and Nine Mile.

Zack was driving I-75.

{all above photos courtesy}

Zack wasn't home.

I could barely run inside fast enough to call him. Praise God he was safe and able to get off the interstate before he neared the scene.

My heart was pounding so fast and my legs were rubber. Never again do I want to experience that kind of fear. As I talked with Zack about what was happening the helicopters grew nearer. I went outside again and saw the smoke billowing in the air. At first it was white as snow, very dense. Then I looked to the East and it was black. Soon enough the entire area was black as death. It was intense. No one knew what was going on. I feared the worst: we were experiencing some type of attack.

Another type of fear I felt was hopelessness.

I ran over to my neighbor's house to watch the news with her. With all the uncertainty, I didn't want to be alone.

I know I mainly speak of my Etsy shop, but Gussy is a Christian. No doubt about that. I should probably speak of my faith more often, but I want my actions to show that I am a child of God more than my mouth.

After hearing a tanker exploded I immediately prayed. At that moment only God knew what was really going on. Approximately 13,000 gallons of fuel were burning -- and it couldn't be controlled. It was hard to tell what was underneath the flames, which burned nearly 200 feet in the air.

The explosion happened around 8 p.m. Wednesday night. The scene burned until approximately Midnight.

Thankfully -- and praise God -- no one was seriously injured or killed.

What a miracle.

Thank you, God, for keeping people safe.

The local news station reported that fire and police officers were exhausted from the morning's house explosion. Now they were on duty again, but working on the biggest fire in the city's history.

MDOT spokesman Rob Morosi said it perfectly: "We need to keep everything in perspective. You can always replace a road. You can't replace a life."

Authorities say a 27-year-old Clawson man lost control of his vehicle as he approached the "Nine Mile Curve" at too-fast speeds. His car collided with a gasoline tanker. The tanker then jackknifed and broke, causing the explosion.

Some how a Meijer semi-truck carrying produce was involved in the crash. All three drivers escaped and ran for their lives.

Praise God.

The explosion and intense heat caused the Nine Mile Road overpass to collapse. Again, praise God no one was driving or walking on the overpass.

An worker at the corner Exxon gas station heard the explosion and immediately shut down the pumps and closed the station. The worker said the the flames extended higher than the eight-story Days Inn, located just east of the expressway.

It is estimated it will take four months to rebuild the overpass.

{the following photos courtesy Zack & Maggie Whitley}

The right lane is I-75 southbound. The northbound overpass is non-existent due to the explosion:

Street corner of S. Chrysler and Nine Mile, looking northeast:

On S. Chrysler, looking south at Nine Mile:

On S. Chrysler, looking south at Nine Mile. I-75 southbound is shown:

You can see the Day's Inn hotel to the left. Flames were said to be over 200 feet, nearing the height of the hotel:

The northbound overpass at Nine Mile -- completely burned through:

A close-up of the melted overpass. You can see the guard rail and security fence, once atop the overpass, completely melted and hanging near the orange construction vehicle:

Workers clean up the southbound side of the Nine Mile overpass:

Drilling concrete on the southbound overpass:

The demolished overpass/road:

Heading north on I-75, you can see the remains of the Meijer semi-truck:

{the following video courtesy}

Thank you LORD for keeping everyone safe.


Jon and Steph said...

That is just incredible! I am so glad that no one was seriously injured or killed in this explosion!

daniella said...

I think this might be a sign from God that it's time for you to move. This might also be a sign/promise that He'll protect you no matter where you are, no matter what happens.

What a horrific accident (and chain of events in your town)!!! My dad and brother are truck drivers and I always fear the worst for the them. Yes, truly a MIRACLE that no lives were taken. Praise God!

alyssa said...

holy cow!! that is crazy!! glad everyone was safe & you are reflecting on our amazing God!!

Anonymous said...

It is a miracle. It is a power more than we can ever imagine that kept people safe. How was no one hurt in something like that? This is a terrible story, however an amazing story. I can not begin to imagine the panic that went through your mind when you though of Zack. Oh lord! Glad you are both safe and sound. Tell Zack no more interstate driving. Happy Friday Gus.

Miracles do happen.

ZWhit said...

Crazy. Good post gus.