Boil advisory emergency declaration • Warren food pantry storage firebombed • Mastodon found during dig

A state of emergency has been ordered for several Southeast Michigan counties following a catastrophic water main break that impacted the water access of nearly a million people over the weekend. 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the order for Lapeer, Macomb, Oakland, and St. Clair counties due to a 120-inch break in a pipe at the Lake Huron Water Treatment Facility in Fort Gratiot. The boil water advisory announced by the Great Lakes Water Authority remains in effect for seven communities and about 130,000 residents.

"We are drawing on every resource we have and taking every action necessary to get impacted families the help they need," Whitmer said. "On Saturday, I activated the State Emergency Operations Center to coordinate our response efforts, and with today’s state of emergency declaration, we are ensuring that state resources will be available as long as the impacted communities need them. In times of crisis, Michiganders stand together. We will do what it takes to get through this."

State of emergency declarations make special resources available to impacted communities. Both state police and the Homeland Security Division will coordinate efforts for affected homes. 

Meanwhile, residents in the village of Almont, Bruce Township, Burtchville Township, Imlay City, Rochester, Shelby Township, and Washington Township should continue boiling their water before using it for drinking, cooking, or washing dishes. 

"There was no warning this break was going to occur, there was nothing that preceded it in our operations that we can see that point to the cause," said Suzanne R. Coffey, GLWA Chief Executive Officer.

Crews removing water from the break site (photo: GLWA)

At one point, the water main break affected 930,000 people and nearly two dozen communities. Since the break, water pressure was restored to multiple cities, GLWA said. The water authority said it accomplished this by changing the direction of water flow that's pumped into the facility. 

Boil advisories are frequently ordered for communities whose water pressure is lost, which can lead to the of harmful bacteria. Boiling the water for a minute will kill any organisms that may have grown in the water.

Water pressure won't be fully restored for at least two weeks to impacted cities. A new pipe is currently being shipped to Michigan and will take a week to install. Another week will be needed for water quality testing before the advisory can be lifted.

For residents, it's another headache to manage amid a growing list of public health hazards. 

READ MORE: Fix to massive pipe will take two weeks, GLWA officials say

"It's just another thing we're going to have to press on for, we're going to have to take precautions like with everything else going on," said Josh SImmons. 

The impacted Lake Huron Water Treatment Facility in Fort Gratiot Township.

"A water main from the Great Lakes Water Authority broke recently and is impacting residents living in the 36th District of Bruce Township, Shelby Township, Washington Township, and also surrounding areas," said Representative Terence Mekoski (R – Shelby Township) in a statement.

The boil advisory has also led to water bottles flying off the shelves of grocery stores. 

Read more coverage here

Warren food pantry storage container firebombed

A food pantry in Warren needs your help after a massive amount of their food supply was destroyed in a fire. An unknown person broke into the Harvest Time Christian Fellowship storage container on Saturday and firebombed it.

The container stored canned goods and other food items. The food pantry serves 1,500 families every month.

"It doesn't make send why someone would hurt someone who does something good for the community," said Pastor Curtiss Ostosh

If you have any information, you are asked to contact Warren police at 586-574-4700.

Mastodon found during west Michigan construction project dig

A mastodon was found this week at a construction dig site in Michigan. During construction in the Geers Intercounty drain construction project, the Kent County Road crew discovered a mastodon. 

Mastodon found in Kent County construction dig (photo: Grand Rapids Public Museum)

The mastodon will eventually find its way to the Grand Rapids Public Museum, the museum said. Archeologists from the University of Michigan were at the dig site on Friday with Dr. Cory Redman, the Museum’s science curator and other museum staff.

"Make no bones about it - we've found a mastodon!" wrote Whitmer on Facebook. 

The Grand Rapids Public Museum announced the exciting find was made while Kent County road crews were working. Images of the dig show several people with their hands buried in the dirt or cradling the delicate fossils. 

See images of the excavation here

Family seeks closure for 23-year-old's murder in 2018

The family of a 23-year-old who was found shot, burned and dumped in a field in 2018 is still seeking answers on this horrific crime.

"My son was with me a few days prior. He left home saying he was really worried and something was gonna happen to him and that I was going to find him in the morgue. I just did not know how to respond to that as a parent. So, I told him everything was gonna be okay and we were gonna deal with this as a family," said the victim's mom.

She was in communication with her son and at some point, that would stop. The next time she'd heard anything about her son was from the news. FOX 2: "That is really heavy to tell your mom you might find me in the morgue. What was he afraid of?"

Ayala's mom: "He didn't really say. He never really told me. I know when he did leave with his car, he was staying somewhere where he felt like he could get protection and his car went missing at the place he was staying. A couple of days before the 29th, I even picked him up and I begged him to come back home. He was in a good mood, he said everything was going to be okay and that he was coming back soon. On the evening of the 26th, his whole tune changed again and he was scared."

Watch the full interview here

Luxury tree house resort opens in Michigan

Michigan's newest luxury living option has just opened in the form of a decadent tree house fit for a vacation. Declared the state's first luxury treehouse resort, the remote location embeds vacationers in isolation, while giving them access to a bevy of activities from hiking and fishing, to animal scavenger hunts and lawn games. 

According to the Tree Vistas' website, river charters and kayak rentals will also be a part of the experience in the coming months. The isolated resort officially opened on Aug. 11, with reservations at Winding Springs costing $299 a night. 

Tree Vistas places travelers deep in the forests of mid-Michigan, just east of Ionia and about 45 minutes from Lansing. It's open to guests with reservations all year round. From the outside, the home comes outfitted with a wooden panel exterior and heavily-slanted roofs. Trees surround the home, which sits off dirt path. Nearby is the Grand River - the same one that flows through the state capital. There are also multiple campfire spots.

Inside, a spiral staircase winds through home that's full of windows offering natural light. The home opens a year after the venue was first announced last year. Renderings and images of the home's construction continued to be posted as work was done. Find more information here

Live on FOX 2

Daily Forecast

The relatively quiet weekend will keep things calm moving into the beginning of the new week. Monday temperatures will remain mild with a chance of a stray shower. The high will be near 80 degrees. Conditions will continue to be sunny and nice throughout the week.

What else we're watching

  1. Imagine a car-less city. In Detroit, it's a pretty dramatic change for a city that has continued to grow with the automotive industry. But in an image Tweeted out this weekend, an AI-generated photo shows what Monroe Street in the Motor City would look like without any cars. 
  2. Michigan gas prices dipped another 5 cents after the national average fell below $4 for the first time since April. Michigan's gas prices are about even with that figure. 
  3. A substance in the Rouge River has been identified as motor oil after a hazmat situation was declared for the pollution. The City of Wayne first noticed the substance on Sunday. The source has not been disclosed, but it could be from a local business. It's believed to have been accidental. 
  4. Warren police is partnering with a group that will help officers better communicate with citizens who are hard of hearing, deaf, or struggle with the English language. The program's launch is scheduled for 1 p.m. Monday in Clinton Township. 
  5. Brittney Griner, the WNBA player imprisoned in Russia has filed an appeal to her prison sentence she received in August. 

Monster star Betelgeuse recovers after blowing its top

The supergiant star Betelgeuse is slowly recovering after a "never-before-seen, titanic" eruption, according to NASA. 

The agency said astronomers used the Hubble and other telescopes to deduce that the star blew off a huge chunk of its surface in 2019. 

"This has never before been seen on a star," the agency said on its website. 

Astronomers said their first clue came after the star mysteriously darkened in 2019 and an immense cloud of dust formed as the ejected surface cooled.