Downed wire sparks Redford Township fire • More outage woes • Road Rage leads to shooting on I-75
MONDAY NEWS HIT - As tens of thousands of homes plead for their power to be turned back on, there was one Redford Township family that asked for anything but after a downed wire fell across their garage.
What ensued was a cruel irony when sparks peppered the structure, which was detached from the home. It then started a fire, which torched the building and all the family's possessions inside.
"I was just thinking 'Oh my God, our garage is going up. We're losing our garage'. I was just praying it didn't hit our house," said Gail Prohaska.
Gail lives with her husband Dan at a home on 9045 Columbia Avenue in Redford Township.
Like hundreds of thousands of other homes across Metro Detroit, issues for the Prohaskas started Feb. 23 when severe weather blew through the region. It left behind outages, thick layers of ice, and dangerous conditions where live wires fell on streets, yards, and other residential structures.
"You're helpless. It's just a helpless feeling," said Gail.
The couple took cell phone footage of the early scenes of smoke coming from a wire that had fallen from the neighbor's property onto their garage. From there, flashes of blue light before flickers of orange flame started.
"Tell me this doesn't suck," said Dan, watching a firefighter trying to put out flames surrounded by smoke.
The power line was likely downed by a falling branch. The Redford Fire Department made two trips out to the home to see if they could offer some remedies, but without the power being cut, there was nothing they could do.
"They more or less told us if the garage had gone up, there's not much else they can do because it was electrical," said Gail.
Then, less than 24 hours later, it ignited.
"Probably within 40 minutes, this is what you see," said Dan, who gestured to the scene behind him.
It was the charred remains of a burned out garage. Inside were "two apartments worth" of possessions from the couple and their kids who had gone off to college. There was also work equipment and camping equipment that burned up.
"I was in tears. You hear about it happening to other people, not to yourself and here it is happening to us,," Gail said. "I was just grateful it didn't get our house."
It's unclear why DTE didn't cut the power initially.
In a statement, the utility said it was aware of the incident and are "working with local officials to investigate."
"The severe ice storm that swept through Michigan beginning February 22 caused extensive damage, including thousands of downed power lines," read the statement.
More outages across Metro Detroit
DTE's outage issues go beyond the individual case. There are still 25,000 homes without power after severe weather Friday night caused a new round of outages for Southeast Michigan - the second major occurrence in as many weeks.
The utility estimated that 95% of customers who lost power due to the severe weather will be restored by the end of the day Monday. The company asks if anyone is experiencing an outage to report it to DTE using their outage map here.
The storms that have hit Metro Detroit recently have brought severe conditions along with them. The first storm was ice while the second was extremely wet snow - both of which add a lot of weight to any structure it falls on.
Mix in wind gusts enough to cause issues without the precipitation, and it can wreak havoc on a power grid. It's also placed the utility company on the hot seat in Lansing, where more lawmakers are expressing a desire for the state's utilities to compensate its customers when the power goes out.
Road rage on I-75 leads to shooting
A road rage incident on I-75 in Oakland County led to someone being shot at over the weekend. Michigan State Police are investigating the incident after getting a call from a driver who said they had been going 60 mph in the middle lane near 14 Mile when another car got combative with them.
Preliminary information from the scene identified the other car as an older white Dodge Charger or Avenger that started "road raging" before brake checking the driver. It happened around 6:40 p.m. Sunday night.
The two cars continued their feud on the road before ending up next to each other. According to police, the driver of the Dodge then opened his window and pointed what the caller thought was a gun.
"He heard a pop and continued driving," said state police on social media. The caller didn't get a license plate and there was no damage to the vehicle. Lt. Mike Shaw chastised the behavior, saying "it is not worth engaging in behavior that would risk other peoples lives."
Michigan, MSU seeded up for Big Ten tournament
The regular season is finished, which means the pieces are almost set for the next March Madness tournament. But before that can kick off, there's a Big 10 Conference tournament to play.
It wasn't an easy season for either the Spartans nor the Wolverines. And while Michigan State didn't run away with an conference schedule, they still managed to secure a double-bye in the tournament, earning a 4th seed.
That's partly thanks to a loss by Iowa, which had recently beat MSU in a high-scoring affair that went to overtime. Michigan lost its final game to ranked Indiana, giving it an 8th seed and one bye.
Michigan plays Rutgers Thursday, March 9 at 12 p.m. on Big Ten Network. MSU will play the winner of Iowa and another team that has yet to be decided. They'll square off in the early afternoon on Friday, March 10.
Police raid Roseville home, find drugs and guns
A raid in Roseville led police to drugs and guns on Thursday.
Michigan State Police conducted the raid in conjunction with the Detroit Police Department.
Police seized 200 grams of fentanyl, 20 grams of crack cocaine, 11 grams of cocaine, 6 grams of methamphetamine, 232 suboxone packs, and two firearms.
Police took one suspect, who is a convicted felon, into custody.
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Temperatures will settle back to cool as Metro Detroit looks to a day of clouds, high 30s, and rain in the afternoon. It could land us some snowflakes later tonight, but nothing too severe.
What else we're watching
- The latest group to throw their hat into the ring in the debate over guns safety? Gabby Giffords. The former lawmaker who nearly died after being shot in the face has partnered with several other campaigns. She'll be in Michigan for a rally on March 15.
- Gas prices have shot up 17 cents in Michigan, pushing the average cost of a gallon of gas to close to $3.50. Demand could be robust this year - even more so than last year when supply shrunk due to the war in Ukraine.
- MDOT is planning bridge work in Macomb County over I-94 that will shut down the road for two months. County Line Road, which goes over the freeway, will be closed to all traffic except local traffic until May.
- A community benefits package worth $167 million has been agreed upon by a Neighborhood Advisory Council. It comes as developers hope to get a massive $1.5 billion project approved for District Detroit, which includes several new or rehabbed buildings and a massive tax break request.
- Does Jalen Ramsey belong on the Lions? The Los Angeles cornerback has shown his quality in the past and rumor has it he's itching for a trade. Perhaps that's why some Lions have courted him to come to Detroit.
Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington dies at 71
Guitarist Gary Rossington of the Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd died Sunday at age 71, the band announced on their Facebook page. Rossington was the last surviving member of the original band.
Representatives in the band did not identify the cause of death.
"It is with our deepest sympathy and sadness that we have to advise, that we lost our brother, friend, family member, songwriter and guitarist, Gary Rossington, today. Gary is now with his Skynyrd brothers and family in heaven and playing it pretty, like he always does," the band said in a statement. "Please keep Dale, Mary, Annie and the entire Rossington family in your prayers and respect the family’s privacy at this difficult time."