Building Blast Traps 2, Injures 1 In Detroit Suburb

"(CNN)
Rescue teams continued going through debris late Wednesday afternoon in search of two people believed to still be trapped in the debris of an early morning gas line explosion at a Wayne, Michigan, furniture store.

Fire and rescue personnel were meticulously removing debris by hand as they tried to locate the two employees of Frank's Furniture who were in the store at the time of the explosion, said Deputy Fire Chief Fire Marshal Shawn Bell.

The identities of the two missing employees had not been made public by late Wednesday afternoon.

As many as 300 people were evacuated after the explosion and a second reported leak in a neighborhood adjoining the furniture store in the suburban Detroit city.

A third person, who was rescued from the wreckage shortly after the explosion, was identified as Paul Franks, the owner of the well-known furniture business. He was hospitalized and listed in critical condition.

Mayor Abdul ""Al"" Haidous described Frank's Furniture as one of the ""jewels"" of the city, and said Franks has been a leader in civic life. ""He has served this city with a great deal of integrity,"" the mayor said.

Some of the people who were forced to evacuate their homes were allowed to return later Wednesday afternoon, and City Manager John J. Zech said police would secure the businesses that had been evacuated so the business owners would not need to return until the all clear.

Debra Dodd, spokeswoman for the gas utility, Consumers Energy, said it was hoped ""that in six to eight hours everybody will be able to get back in their homes.""

Before the explosion, a Consumers Energy gas worker was two blocks away investigating the reported gas leak, Dodd said. ""In the course of that investigation, the building down the road here exploded,"" Dodd said. "