Detroit’s fire stations lose power; some rigs stuck, and no fuel available

Ladder 30
Detroit’s fire stations lost power, and only a few have backup generators.

Updated: 6:15 p.m.

Detroit’s fire stations lost power this morning, and some rigs were unable to get out of their garage to respond to emergencies following a major outage that forced the closure of government buildings, schools and medical centers.

For those that can make it out, they had no access to fuel because the city’s two service centers are shut down because of the outage.

Traffic lights also were out downtown and on Woodward and Cass, and people were stuck in the elevators at city hall and the federal courthouse, which also have lost power. Detroit Public Schools and Wayne State University also lost power to many of their buildings.

More than an hour after city hall was evacuated, firefighters continued to remove people in wheelchairs.

This is a very serious situation because the Fire Department fights more than a dozen house and building fires a day.

Only a few of the city’s roughly 30 fire stations have generators, and some are about to run out of fuel.

The doors at fire stations operate with electricity and often can’t be opened manually.

At 11:45 a.m., the Lighting Department issued the following statement:

The city’s public lighting grid suffered a major cable failure that has caused the entire grid to lose power at approximately 10:30 this morning.   The outage is affecting all customers on the PLD grid.  We have isolated the issue and are working to restore power as soon as possible.

The city’s Public Lighting Department is working closely with DTE during this process.  Mayor Mike Duggan and representatives of DTE will provide further details a 2PM press briefing at Detroit Public Safety Headquarters.

Most of the power was restored by Tuesday evening.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.