Explosion rocks apartment above Jimmy John's

An explosion rocked an apartment above Jimmy John’s, at 537 W. Cross St., early Sunday morning.

The fire spread to surrounding apartments and buildings, evoking a response from the Ypsilanti Fire Department as well as Ann Arbor Fire Department, Pittsfield Township Fire Department and three other departments.

“We had a box alarm request, which is five other fire departments assisting us,” Ypsilanti Fire Chief Max Anthouard said.

EMU junior Sydnie Rushing has worked at Jimmy John’s for a year. She said the fire was not detected by the employees but caused an immediate response for evacuation when a customer brought notice to the serious situation.

“So this guy came inside and says, ‘I’d like a number five, and by the way the building is on fire upstairs,’” Rushing said. “Our boss walked outside and said, ‘Oh yea, there’s a fire. We gotta get out of here.’”

Some of those who were nearby said they heard an explosion.

Nick Reu, an EMU senior and aviation major, said, “We heard a boom and then saw the flames coming out,” he said. “The entire first and second floor were covered in smoke.”

EMU freshman Josh Plonka said, “We heard a boom and looked outside and the fire was raging.”

EMU junior and social work major Bekah Whitehead lives directly across the street from Jimmy John’s and said she was alerted by public officials.

“I heard all the sirens and then I looked out my window and there was a raging fire,” she said.

Anthouard said there was significant fire damage throughout the apartment and significant water damage to Jimmy John’s below.

By Al Willman / Al Willman | The Eastern Echo
By Al Willman / Al Willman | The Eastern Echo
By Al Willman / Al Willman | The Eastern Echo
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By Kenneth Bowen / Kenneth Bowen | The Eastern Echo

He also said that nobody was in the apartment when the explosion took place, and two people safely evacuated themselves from the apartment next door.

The cause of the explosion is still under investigation.

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