WUOMFM

Detroit girl's electrocution prompts new calls for action on old power lines

Sep 9, 2016

Some old city power lines turned deadly in Detroit this week, prompting calls to finally get rid of them altogether.

Twelve-year-old K’Brianna Griffin was killed Wednesday night while playing in a neighbor’s backyard on Detroit’s west side.

According to a statement from DTE Energy, “Our initial investigation indicates that an out-of-service Public Lighting Department wire fell and crossed over a live DTE wire, which effectively energized the PLD line that the young girl came into contact with.”

DTE Energy effectively took over Detroit’s lighting department in 2013, just before the city’s emergency manager declared bankruptcy.

But it didn’t take on the department’s old infrastructure, citing its age — over 100 years old in some cases — and largely decrepit condition.

But this has prompted calls to do something about that remaining infrastructure.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan called Griffin’s death “an avoidable tragedy.”

Duggan wants those old lines “addressed,” but “it’s too soon to say how and when that’ll happen,” said mayoral spokesman John Roach.

Residents in the area had reported downed power lines over the past several weeks, but those issues were not addressed.

A joint DTE/city statement said: “We are deeply concerned about the circumstances of this tragedy and are continuing to investigate every aspect of this incident to determine exactly what happened from the time a problem was first reported.”

Neither the city nor the utility would give a timeline for when the “active, complicated investigation” might conclude.