Gas left on after contractors demolish abandoned Detroit home leaves neighbors light-headed and sick

Residents who live on Liberal Street on Detroit's east side told FOX 2 a contractor came out on Friday to demolish an abandoned house and not only left the job incomplete, but tore down the house with the gas still on.

Jeffrey Stephens said he's counting his blessings that he's only dealing with a little sickness and an eye sore.

"This could have been a fatal, fatal, fatal incident here," he said. "This neighborhood could have went up -- at least my house and the neighbor next to me could have went up."

Stephens said after the contractor tore down the property, he smelled gas right outside his home.

"I sleep with my bedroom window open just get some fresh air," he said. "I came out of the house, and I could smell the fumes really, really bad. When I walked over there and looked at the pipe, I could see the gas seeping from the pipe from where they tore down the house."

The Detroit resident said he had to call the fire department and EMS on Saturday, followed by then took a trip to the hospital to be checked out. Other people who live in the neighborhood did not want to go on camera, but said they experienced the same symptoms.

"I was light-headed and everybody in the house was complaining about a little light-headedness," Stephens said. "And my finance, she was complaining about a little light-headedness."

DTE confirmed they found two small gas leaks at the location in the past 24 hours. Crews on Sunday wouldn't comment on the work being done on site. Given the city hired the contractor, there is some responsibility on that end, but Stephens isn't mad at the mayor's office.

"I give Mayor Duggan credit for trying to tear down some of these homes because we have few homeowners on this block," he said.

When it comes to the contractor, Rickman Enterprise Group, Stephens said he wasn't happy.

"You're making all of this money, you're tearing down all of these homes," he said. "You got contracts to tear up all these homes in this city and you're doing a half job."

FOX 2 received two statements from the city and contractor.

The mayor's office said: "Contractors are required to make sure that all utilities have been disconnected prior to any work taking place. We will be revisiting this process with our contractors and our partners at DTE to keep something like this from happening again."

Rickman Enterprise Group declined to comment.

A spokesperson from the mayor's office also said the contractor will not get paid until the job has been completed properly.