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Power Outage To Keep City Offices, WSU Closed Friday

DETROIT (WWJ) - A power failure in downtown Detroit will keep the Coleman A Young Municipal Center and Wayne State University closed Friday.  The outage, which occurred Thursday afternoon, stretches from Wayne State into downtown.

Mayoral spokeswoman Karen Dumas told WWJ's Gary Lundy late Thursday that the building will remain closed Friday.  City employees are not required to report to work, according to Dumas.  She said three tie lines have failed meaning there is no power at city buildings, for traffic lights and some schools.

Also closed Friday will be the Wayne County Probate Court at the CAYMC.  A statement from the court said the "Probate Court anticipates reopening on Monday, June 13 at 8:00 a.m."

A message posted on the Wayne State University website said due to the power outage the main campus would be closed and all classes cancelled Friday.

WWJ's Lance Howard reported traffic lights were out stretching from I-94 to Jefferson Ave. and from the Lodge Freeway to I-75.

WWJ's Florence Walton reports police and fire crews were at city hall when the power grid went down around 2:30 Thursday afternoon.   The Coleman A Young Municipal Center, which houses city offices and some Wayne County Courts, were evacuated. According to Dumas, the Detroit Medical Center (DMC) does have power.

Wayne State University canceled classes for Thursday evening because they have no power in some buildings.  Wayne County Community College District's downtown campus and administration building also lost power.

The Detroit People mover suspended service at 2:30 p.m. Thursday due to a loss of power in its downtown service area.

WWJ's Pat Sweeting spoke with Wayne County employee Evette Pettiford who was working at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice when she heard word of the spreading blackout at about 3 p.m..

"I don't think we quite believed them until the power actually went out and we were all sitting there in the dark. And then they came over with the loudspeakers in maybe about fifteen minutes and told us that we had to leave," said Pettiford, adding that she was grateful she only had to walk down a few flights of stairs.

"Thank goodness, just four ... it was fine. I don't have the best knees in the world, but I made it. It was good. They had police officers there with flashlights," she said.

So, what caused the power failure?

Chris Brown, Detroit's Chief Operating Officer, said the problems were created by tie lines -- the lines that connect DTE with the city's office buildings.

"We've historically had some issues on those tie lines. One of them went out last night. We were helped by DTE.  Two of them when out this afternoon, so, we're working on it right now," he said.

The second line went out at 1:40 p.m.; the third at about 1:55 p.m., after which everything went dark.

Brown said it's all because of the heat.

DTE Energy is assisting in restoring the power, which was expected to take 24 hours.

Keep it tuned to WWJ Newsradio 950 for the latest.

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