Equipment failure is being blamed in an underground electrical explosion in Grosse Pointe Woods on Tuesday that knocked out power to hundreds.

A suspected cable failure in an underground line prompted the blast, said DTE spokeswoman Randi Berris. The failure caused pressure to build up and forced a manhole cover into the air. There was no fire or smoke associated with the incident and no injuries were reported, she said.

"It is safe for cars, pedestrians and residents in that neighborhood," Berris said. "We're grateful there were no injuries."

DTE crews have not yet been able to get underground and are expected to return to the site Wednesday to study the cause, Berris added.

Grosse Pointe Woods' Public Safety Department alerted the public of the incident Tuesday afternoon and shut down a portion of the road near Mack and Bournemouth for several hours while crews investigated.

It's unclear if power will be interrupted Wednesday while DTE examines the damaged line. The time table and potential cost for repairs is not yet known.

Berris said about 600 customers experienced power outages due to the cable failure.  DTE rerouted the power and it was restored just before 5 p.m.


A fire crew and DTE truck were on the scene and Grosse Pointe Woods police cruisers blocked the southbound section section of Mack until it reopened shortly after 4 p.m.

Nearby residents gathered on the east side of the road Tuesday as crews worked.

Among them was Michael Ragland, 65, who lives about three blocks from the blast.

"I don't know if this is part of a series of things. They have been repairing gas lines for a while now," said Ragland, who said he's seen issues over the last couple of years with streets shut down as officials have worked on underground infrastructure upgrades.

Meanwhile, workers inside St. John Hospital said they didn't hear anything out of the ordinary, but they did have a brief power outage.

"The lights flickered, but came back on," said Karen Dempsey.

Dempsey's co-worker, Phyllis Miller, lives down the street and said this isn't the first in incident. Earlier this summer while she was at work, her son was evacuated from the family's home by four to six hours due to a gas leak, she said.

Berris said there is infrastructure work taking place on the natural gas system in Grosse Pointe, but said the Tuesday incident not appear to be related.

Randi Berris, a DTE spokeswoman, confirmed crews were en route to the scene.

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