MSP bomb squad robots used to assess damage in sinkhole homes

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The Michigan State police bomb squad using their robots for a different kind of mission today.

The robot went inside two of the homes affected by that massive sinkhole in Fraser at 15 Mile Road, accessing the damage.

"We're using them for basically a surveillance mission," said Lt. Michael Shaw, Michigan State Police. "There's no bombs, there's no danger here."

"This might be their first mission where they are actually going into a condemned home," said Candice Miller, Macomb County Public Works Commissioner

It is and condemned homes are dangerous.  So it’s better to have a robot go inside than a human. And also because the county has agreed to buy these three homes, so an assessment as to the value of the stuff inside must be done.

"This is our control station here," said Sgt. Ashland Bray, bomb squad specialist. "That is going to be the controller for the large platform robot that I am going to be using.

"It can do anything I can do, it can go up and downstairs, open doors, move objects, we can talk through it, we can listen through it."

FOX 2 can't show you the content of what the robot actually sees because of privacy concerns for the homeowners.

The bids to repair this entire sink hole should be announced Monday. That could cost $140 million and we're told that the amount to condemn these three houses, $1 million has been set aside."

"Hopefully there will be no litigation and we will come to an agreement with each one of the families," Miller said. "They have been unbelievably patient and understanding."

FOX 2: "Does the state charge the county for these robots?"

"No not a dime," said Shaw. "One of the things we do as a public safety net is provide these services free of charge."

As soon as the assessment is done and the price of the homes are agreed-upon, they will be demolished, probably in 2 weeks.

FOX 2: "Would you go in that house yourself?"

"You might not want to ask a bomb technician that," Bray quipped. "But I'd rather have the robot do it yes, absolutely."