Oakland County businessman charged in deadly Clinton Twp. vape shop explosion –

Environmental Protection Agency personnel and Clinton Township fire investigators on the scene of Monday’s explosion near 15 Mile Road and Groesbeck Highway. (MACOMB DAILY FILE PHOTO)

An Oakland County businessman was being held in jail on a $500,000 bond after he was charged Thursday in connection with a deadly blast that destroyed a Clinton Township vape supply shop in March.

Noor Noel Kestou, 31, of Commerce Township, was arraigned in 41B District Court in Clinton Township on charges of involuntary manslaughter, a 15-year felony.

Authorities took Kestou into custody earlier this week in New York where he had a one-way plane ticket to an undisclosed destination, according to Macomb County Prosecutor Peter Lucido.

“Whether he was coming back has yet to be determined,” Lucido said.

The case, assembled by multiple government agencies, is still open and additional charges may be filed, the prosecutor said. He praised the work of all of those involved.


“I take pride in applauding the work by the Clinton Township police and fire departments,” he said. “They had to orchestrate the work of six or seven agencies, and did so masterfully. I commend the work of Police Chief Dina Caringi and the others in charge of this investigation.”

James Thomas, Kestou’s defense attorney, expected his client would be able to post bond and be released from jail later Thursday. He said Kestou was traveling when the arrest warrant was issued and that’s why he was in New York.

“We hope to post bond and let this thing work its way out in court,” Thomas said.

The March 4 massive blasts and subsequent fire at Goo Smoke Shop/Select Distributors Wholesale warehouse on 15 Mile Road at Groesbeck Highway rocked central Macomb County and sent debris up to two miles away. One of an estimated 1,000 metal canisters at the scene fatally struck a 19-year-man and another injured a township firefighter.

Clinton Township officials and prosecutors have said the explosion and fire were caused by thousands of improperly stored canisters of butane and nitrous oxide. Resulting flareups from the fire continued to burn for about a week before it was totally extinguished, Clinton Township fire officials have said.

But the fire department has yet to report on if they were able to determine a cause and origin of the blaze.

According to Thomas, the defense attorney, the business has been shut down. The property is subject to a cleanup that must be approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, he said.

“Our first order of business will be to secure that site with a stronger fence than what’s up there now to keep people out of there,” Thomas said

Killed in the blast was Turner Lee Salter, 19, of Clinton Township, who was standing at a car wash on 15 Mile Road when he was he was hit by airborne shrapnel from one of the cannisters. He died a few hours later at an area hospital.

Salter’s family attends Faith Baptist Church in Clinton Township, where Pastor Tim Berlin described him as a “joy to be around.” The young man served as a volunteer in the church’s audio/visual department.

Lucido said he hopes the arrest brings some sense of closure to both Salter’s family and the community in general “who want to know how did this happen.”

“Our hearts ache for the family and loved ones of the young man whose life was tragically cut short by this devastating explosion, ” he said.

.Kestou was arraigned before Magistrate Ryan Zemke, who set bond at $500,000 cash/surety only.

If he is able to post the bond, Kestou must wear a GPS tether, surrender his passport, not leave the state and have no weapons.

A probable cause hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 7 before Judge Sebastian Lucido.

Meanwhile, Clinton Township Supervisor Bob Cannon said the township has scheduled a news conference on the incident for 10 a.m. Friday at the Civic Center, where they expect to release additional details of the investigation.

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