PONTIAC, Mich. (WJBK) - Earlier this year, FOX 2 reported on some employees' growing fear that the air inside the U.S. Postal Service Michigan Metroplex Procession and Distribution Center in Pontiac was not safe. Five postal workers at the facility all died within about a year of each other.
According to a report by the U.S. Postal Services Inspector General, the methane detection system had problems, which may have caused these deaths.
Keesha Gray, 38, was discovered dead in the parking lot of the center, according to sheriff's deputies. The medical examiner determined she died from bronchial asthma. Her family has now hired a lawyer to investigate what's going on at the center.
"We are undertaking an investigation as to the cause of this woman's death, and if it turns out that her death was indeed related to methane toxicity, we will endeavor to hold those responsible accountable for her death," says Brian McKeen of McKeen and Associates. He's the attorney representing Gray's family.
He believes the cause for the string of deaths, which date back to January of 2015, must have something to do with the fact that the metroplex is situated on the site of a former vehicle manufacturing plant, which included a foundry. The property is classified as a brownfield, which is defined as a former industrial or commercial site where future use is affected by environmental contamination and supervised by the Environmental Protection Agency.
"The inspector general's report shows that, since March of 2015, the methane detection system wasn't functioning properly," says McKeen. "There was at least 10 occasions in which there was an activation of the methane gas warning light and nobody did anything about it."
Safety steps were put in place, such as a gas venting system under the foundation and inside of the building. However, a report says the methane detection system has not been functioning properly since March of 2015. In March of 2016, we were told it was fixed.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is now investigating.
None of the deaths have confirmed links to the possible hazardous material on the property.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly indicated Gray's death was an addition to five earlier deaths of metroplex workers. She is one of five employees to have died. Her family and attorney have not yet filed a lawsuit.