Gas line struck near Fraser sinkhole, workers being moved

Posted at 11:50 AM, Dec 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-27 13:11:00-05

Officials say workers have struck a gas line near the Fraser sinkhole and are being moved from the area.

Fire crews are now on the scene. 

Consumers Energy reports that a two-inch gas line was hit. They say they are trying to weld a piece over the damaged section and have shut down the main for now. 

Consumers says it shouldn't affect any customers in terms of gas service. 

Workers have been in the area for days. Heavy rainfall, coupled with the infrastructure damage from the sinkhole in Fraser, forced them to pump raw sewage into the Clinton River Monday morning.

Fraser officials held a public meeting on Monday to update residents on a sinkhole that formed on Saturday.

While they notified the public of the possibility of an emergency plan to pump sewage into the river, it didn’t ease concerns of those who live near the dump site.

“They went behind our backs and did it,” said Carl Renaud, a homeowner near the site where the raw sewage was pumped into the Clinton River. “I mean, I know they had an emergency situation, but I’m 35 feet away from where they’re dumping.”

The pumping took place on Monday to avoid allowing raw sewage to build in the basements of a handful of homes affected by the sinkhole. The work was done in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, but was called a “last resort.”

Officials said the sinkhole, which formed under a home on Eberline Dr. near 15 Mile at Hayes, started because of a sewer pipe collapse 45 feet underground. The pipe collapse happened on Eberline Dr. The roads are still closed.

Residents on the street have been evacuated since Saturday, but will soon be allowed to re-enter their homes. There are three homes that will be deemed uninhabitable due to the sinkhole.

Officials say 15 Mile is expected to be closed between Utica and Hayes roads for several months. There is fear that the sinkhole could widen, which would affect the road.

The Fraser Mayor declared a state of emergency on Sunday, which will help the city to request special funding to address the sinkhole and related expenses.

However, he said he too is upset about how this situation has unfolded.

“I’d like answers like a lot of people,” said Mayor Joe Nicholas. “I’d like to know what previous inspection records show.”

The man responsible for those records has been noticeably absent from public view since the situation in Fraser began to unfold.

Macomb County Drain Commissioner Anthony Marrocco was voted out of office in the past election, but remains in his elected position at this time.

Sources told 7 Actions News that it’s believed he is currently in Florida, but repeated efforts to contact Marrocco and his staff have gone unanswered.

“We haven’t heard a thing,” said Renaud. “We haven’t heard a thing and it really gets under your skin when they’re pumping just about everything into the river.”

At Monday’s public meeting there were a number of questions about past work to repair a sinkhole that was was in the same area in 2004. City leaders said that it’s too early to tell whether past contractors’ work played a role in the sink hole that formed on Saturday.

They are asking the public to avoid the area, and not to make assumptions as to what a safe area would be considered around the sinkhole.