Family of woman who died from downed power line wants answers

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On Detroit's east side, a 72-year-old woman was found dead holding a downed power line.

She was likely electrocuted, and her family is demanding answers, wondering if more should have been done to secure that live wire.

The downed line was reported Friday but, due to the thousands of calls for power outages, DTE Energy crews could not arrive until Monday afternoon. That was when the discovery was made.

"The girl called me, I couldn't believe it," Willie Smith said. "I had her repeat it, I just couldn't believe it."

Smith is heartbroken to learn his sister, Dorothy Adams, had been found electrocuted following Friday's massive wind storm.

On Monday afternoon, a DTE worker discovered her body in the alley behind her Detroit home on Riopelle Street near E. State Fair. The 72-year-old was found gripping a live wire.

"She was cleaning up, that is all I know," said Smith. "(She was) picking up branches and things and she had been raking up the leaves, that's I know.

"She had no reason to pick it up, I don't understand that. If it had a yellow ribbon around it, she definitely wouldn't have picked it up. We were taught better than that."

It is not clear how long Adams was there before she was found. DTE says the downed line was reported out at that location on Friday. 

Willie last spoke to his sister on Saturday, but a crew wasn't available to respond to make repairs until Monday afternoon. That's when they discovered the body.

DTE claims crews went out and placed caution tape around the live wire until it could be fixed but a neighbor claims the yellow tape had been there for months from a previous fire caused by a downed wire.

"I can remember last fall that the wire behind her garage, it fell," said the neighbor. "And it was on fire. There was a big fire back there. She had that caution tape up on that gate since the last time that wire fell."

DTE crews were back out at the scene on Tuesday. Whether it was the same wire and tape is unclear. But her brother still questioning if there was caution tape - how something like this could have happened?

"I don't know what would make her pull on something like that," he said. 

Adams will be missed. We're told she lived alone at this house for 40 years, but was described as a friendly, lovable lady who always loved working outside.

"She was very nice lady talked to everybody in the neighborhood," said one neighbor.

"She was friendly, she loved to talk, loved to cook," Willie said. "She talked to me for hours."

In a statement DTE says their hearts and prayers go out to the woman's family and that this serves as a sad reminder to stay at least 20 feet away from any downed wire.

Police and DTE continue to investigate.