DTE Energy substation

(Photo: Jon Hewett/WWJ)

Nursery School Evacuated Due To Fire At DTE Substation; Thousands Without Power

July 05, 2018 - 2:24 pm

DETROIT (WWJ) - On a piping hot Thursday, DTE Energy crews are dealing with power problems in Detroit, Southfield and Ferndale. 

The biggest outage is due to a fire at a substation on 8 Mile Road near Greenfield, on Detroit's west side, according officials -- which prompted the evacuation of a nursery school and some other neighboring buildings.

Althea Person, works at the Pippen Palace Child Care Academy, said they began smelling smoke while she and her boss were preparing lunch for the kids on Thursday.

"While they were eating, we went out and noticed a bunch of smoke was coming from the electrical building across the street," she told WWJ's Jon Hewett. "So she ended up trying to call 911 and; as they started coming they evacuated us and we had to walk down the street to the carpet company."

Once there, Person said, they waited for cooling buses called by the Detroit Fire Department.

"We sat in the store and we sang little songs with them," she said. "And it was blessed day because normally we have 45 children. Today we only had 26...and they were really good."

The fire was out before 2 p.m., but with no power in the daycare building, Person said they would have to close for the day. 

Deputy Fire Chief Dave Fornell said the plan was to keep the kids safe on the busses until arrangements could be made to get them home. 

A handful of local residents and people in some other local business were also evacuated, but they've all have since been allowed to go back to home or to work. 

No injuries were reported. 

Earlier, Fornell said this was initially considered a level one HAZMAT situation. However, officials have since found that there is no danger in connection with chemicals inside the facility.

People driving in the area should continue to expect traffic backups with traffic light out for miles due to the power problems. Drivers should treat intersections as four-way stops. 

In total, the DTE outage map showed about 9,000 homes and businesses without electricity early Thursday afternoon -- with additional power outages were reported in an area stretching from 10 Mile to 12 Mile and east of Telegraph Road. As as a result, all afternoon and evening class at Lawrence Technological University (LTU) in Southfield were canceled. 

Separately, there was an outage near 9 Mile Road and Wyoming in Ferndale. 


As always, authorities urge the public never to touch and stay at least 20 feet away from any downed power lines. Residents can report a power outage or downed power line to DTE at this link, via the DTE Energy Mobile App on a smartphone or tablet, or by calling 800-477-4747.