Downed power line kills Detroit man's dog

A Detroit man says that a live wire killed his beloved dog.

- A Detroit man is furious and heartbroken after his dog was electrocuted during Saturday's snowfall.

He says it is due to a mistake by a DTE Energy utility crew.

Gregory Scruggs has video of his dog electrocuted Sunday morning.

Although the video has been blurred, the sound is unmistakable. You can see the outline of the dog in the snow and a burned out 'x' that marks the spot of that deadly downed power line.

"I could see her body twitching, the wire was kind of wrapped around her body, you can see the burn mark in the ground from where the wire was," Scruggs said.

That was Sunday morning. On Saturday night Scruggs came home to find caution tape along Glendale, blocking the sidewalk that he shares a backyard with his neighbor where a power line was down.

"There was caution tape from the corner of this fence, around that beige box and all the way to the neighbor's, blocking off the neighbor's entrance," Scruggs said.

A few hours later, Scruggs heard his pit bull outside barking. She was on her leash, barking because the DTE crews had arrived - he thought, to fix the problem.

At 4 a.m. Sandy was barking and Scruggs was watching through his window as the crews removed the caution tape from his fence and toss into his neighbor's garbage can.

"My assumption is that they took care of the issue," he said. "At that point I could not see a wire so I didn't know there was any wire there. I would have assumed that if there was still a wire, there would still be caution tape."

What he didn't know, just one piece of caution tape remained in the yard, along with a very live wire. Hours later he heard Sandy bark again, this time she had slipped out of her collar and had run into her neighbor's yard.

"Before I could get outside my neighbors are banging on my door telling me my dog is dead - she's on fire in the backyard," Scruggs said.

He called DTE Energy and they arrived right away. DTE released a statement calling the dog's electrocution "unfortunate" and reminded people to report downed power lines and stay back at least 20 feet.

But it did not address why almost all of the caution tape was taken down when a live wire was still present. They live right across from an elementary school - and he's just glad the schoolchildren - and his own children - were nowhere near it.

"I would kind of like to know what's going to be done in the future to prevent this from happening - we depend on DTE," Scruggs said. "DTE is who we call when something goes wrong with a gas leak or an electrical problem. I want to know that these guys got our back."

DTE did offer Scruggs $500 for the loss of his dog. It also released the following statement:

"DTE Energy's first priority is and remains the safety of our customers, community residents and employees, and the extreme weather metro Detroit experienced this weekend only heightens this priority. As a result of this weekend's weather, DTE has confirmed a dog was electrocuted in the city of Detroit. This is an unfortunate incident, and a reminder of the danger downed power lines can present in these situations once weather has moved through the area.

DTE asks all residents to be mindful of their surroundings at all times, especially during extreme weather, which includes staying 20 feet away from any down line, as the line may still be active, and being cautious of pets being outside in hard-hit areas. We ask residents to report any situations they may interpret as dangerous or uncertain, even once extreme weather has passed through the area.

Today, all down wires in the area of I-96 and Schoolcraft on Detroit's west side have been restored, and no outages remain in this area.

Customers can report down lines by using the DTE Energy app, or at DTEenergy.com."
 


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