Car drives into open manhole in downtown Detroit

A car was stuck in a manhole on Jefferson in downtown Detroit.
A car got stuck in an open manhole in downtown Detroit Tuesday.

Gwendolyn Green's PT Cruiser went to avoid a manhole cover on West Jefferson and ended up hitting the hole. 

"I was on my way to get on the Lodge freeway," she said. "And the top of the hole was out so of course I couldn't go over it. So I cut over to the right to go around it and boom, I went inside the hole.

"I didn't see the hole. I just went into it. I am more focused. 

If this manhole blew, could there be others - especially in busy areas like Jefferson?

"If there is something going on underneath the surface that causes enough pressure for the manhole covers to blow," said Ron Brundige, director of Detroit Public Works. "Then there is the possibility that it can blow.

"Either steam or water pressure. But this particular one is just because of steam pressure."

The city of Detroit does not maintain the manholes, they are maintained by a company called Detroit Thermal - which regulates the steam heat throughout the city, 

But blowing manholes are dangerous - especially if you are a passenger in a car that's hit a manhole. 

"She moves over to try and avoid the manhole cover and we fall into the manhole," said Phil Green, who was in the car. "Bam, man. My back is hurt, my neck is hurting me. I don't understand it. 

"The officer tells us the manhole covers just blow up sometimes."

Detroit Thermal tells FOX 2 that the steam does not make the manhole covers blow, it is the corroding away around the edges.

"We reset it, but we need them to come back out and make sure there is no issues before we open that lane fully to traffic," Brundige said. "It is safe now. We left the cones there until Detroit Thermal gets there to verify there are no other issues."

There are other issues.

"It's my only little car," said Green. "It's not the best car, but it's mine."

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