Teenager killed in building explosion

DETROIT, MI – The owner of a Detroit suburban business, Noor Noel Kestou, 31, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter following the explosion of a building holding nitrous oxide and butane. The catastrophic event, which occurred last month, resulted in the death of a teenager from falling debris, officials said.

Kestou was apprehended on Saturday at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport when authorities learned of his one-way ticket to Hong Kong. On Thursday, he pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter during his arraignment in Macomb County, Michigan.

The warehouse, located in Clinton Township, improperly stored canisters of nitrous oxide and butane when it caught fire and exploded on March 4, officials shared. The facility, owned by Goo Smoke Shop/Select Distributors Wholesale Warehouse, a supplier of vaping products, had recently received a semi-load of butane containers, over half of which were still on the premises at the time of the fire. More than 100,000 vape pens with lithium batteries and numerous pallets of nitrous and lighter fluid were also present in the building when it exploded.

As a result of the blast, debris was catapulted up to one-half mile in each direction. 19-year-old Turner Lee Salter succumbed to a fatal head injury from a nitrous oxide canister that landed approximately one-quarter of a mile from the site of the fiery explosion.

In the week following the incident, fire crews continuously monitored the site due to recurring explosions, fires, and continual smoke emanating from the location. Clinton Township Police Capt. Anthony Coppola described the incident as unlike anything they had ever faced before.

Currently, involuntary manslaughter is the highest charge possible based on the evidence presented, according to Macomb County prosecutor Peter Lucido. The suspect could receive a sentence of up to 15 years if convicted, but more charges may be added.

Kestou, who is currently being held on a $500,000 cash-only bond, has been cooperative throughout investigations into the fire and explosion, officials reported. His bond conditions stipulate he must wear a GPS tether, surrender his passport, remain within the state, and possess no weapons. His next court date is scheduled for May 7th.

The origin of the fire is still under investigation, and authorities are unable to rule out human involvement.