By Candice Williams – The Detroit News
Lyon Township — A plane crash Saturday afternoon in Lyon Township killed the former president of Metro Detroit’s home builders group, his wife and son and sparked a fire in the home they struck, according to the home builders association.
Plane owner David S. Compo — an experienced, licensed pilot — his wife Michele and their college-age son Dawson were killed in the crash when their private plane smashed into a home half a mile north of the New Hudson airport, the Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan said late Saturday in a release.
David Compo had flown to Canton, Georgia, on Dec. 29, and the family was returning home Saturday when the crash occurred, the home builders group said.
The incident happened around 4 p.m. Saturday in the 57000 block of Dakota Drive, according to witnesses. The residents of the home were able to get out of the house, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office said.
A single-engine Piper PA-24 Comanche crashed in a residential area at 3:47 p.m., about a half mile north of Oakland Southwest Airport in New Hudson, according to preliminary information from the Federal Aviation Administration.
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.
According to FlightAware.com,, the plane took off at 12:51 p.m. and was scheduled to land at 4:11 p.m.
According to the FAA registry, the plane is owned by Aircom LLC, which is based in Novi. The company shares an address with Compo Builders, Inc., and both are registered to Compo, who is also president of Compo Builders. The plane was manufactured in 1964.
Compo is the immediate past president of the Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan. His term ended on New Year’s Eve.
“We were fortunate to have David leading our team for 2020,” Home Builders Association CEO Michael Stoskopf said in the statement. “His involvement, professionalism and experience over the years have been great assets to our organization, and he has been a true friend to me as we faced challenge after challenge during this past year.”
Fire crews from Lyon Township remained on the scene of the fire Saturday evening. The tail of a small plane could be seen behind a blue tarp used to cover the fuselage.
The two-story house appeared to suffer extensive damage on both floors along the side and rear.
The weather at the time of the crash was unremarkable other than some low cloud cover, according to the National Weather Service’s White Lake Township office. There was no rain, ice or snow, and temperatures were right around the freezing mark. Winds were calm to light out of the east/southeast.
A meteorologist said that since the crash was under investigation there were no conclusions to be drawn about whether the weather could have been a contributing factor.
Chase Southwick, who lives about a block from the scene, said he saw the plane prior to the crash. He thought it was a little weird to see the plane flying low, but he didn’t give it much thought.
“You could tell it was really, really low because it was buzzing low down,” he said. Southwick said he later saw smoke billowing from out a window.
“There was a huge cloud of white smoke, I thought what happened?” he said. “That plane, because it was so low, what if it crashed?”
Southwick said he drove by after receiving an alert about the plane crash.
“You could see the whole plane, the whole front end of the nose was smashed in,” he said. “We were like ‘Oh my God. This could happen to us because we live just one street over. What if this happened to us?’”
Victoria Bial and Jaye Sciullo were arriving to visit their brother for a holiday gathering Saturday afternoon when they saw fire coming from his neighbor’s house.
They said they had no clue a plane was involved.
“From afar, it looked like the house was on fire,” Sciullo said. “You couldn’t see much.”
“We’re so happy that the family got out safe,” Bial said. “The kids and the mom and dad got out safe. It’s horrible to start the new year like this. My heart goes out to them.”