Man burned, dog dead after gas station fire


Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE – A 48-year-old Allen Park man suffered burns on 10 percent of his body after a suicide attempt at a gas station Sunday that left his dog dead.

Police officers responded about 5:36 a.m. to Future Fuels, 2821 Fort St., after a security guard at the gas station pulled the man out of his flaming 200 Chevrolet PK. Loud popping noises and white flashes were visible in the flames, and later thought to be the result of ammunition kept in the car.

Police Chief Daniel Grant said no gun was found on the man, although an empty gun holster was. He said it does not appear as though the man fired a gun inside the car.

The man was lying in the snow near a sidewalk, singed and covered in smoke with much of his clothing melted. He told police he tried to kill himself. He told police no one was in the car, but they later found his dog dead and charred in the backseat.

Grant said the man is still in Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, after being transferred from the Wyandotte campus, and has not been extensively interviewed yet, but could face animal cruelty and arson charges.

He said it is unknown whether the man intended to start a larger fire, though he was about 15 feet away from the gas pumps.

“We really don’t know,” Grant said. “He was a little bit away from the pumps, but still under the canopy. He caused a bit of damage. We weren’t able to talk to him a lot When we got there he was pretty distressed.”

Fire Chief Jeff Carley said the fire, which his crew put out in less than an hour, could have been “catastrophic” had it ignited the nearby gasoline or propane.

“The potential there was ginormous in terms of shutting down businesses,” Carley said.  “This could have impacted the neighborhood and a lot of resources.”

Carley said the source of the fire is still unknown and the fire is still under investigation.

The Chevrolet was a total loss, having been burned completely except for interior frames. A vehicle belonging to the gas station clerk also was damaged. The canopy of the gas station also was damaged.

A burnt magazine which had ruptured was found in the center console. Two other rounds were found inside the vehicle.