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12-year-old Detroit girl killed by downed wire in backyard

K'Brianna Griffin killed while dancing in backyard

DETROIT – Utility companies are saying a fallen "out-of-service" wire is to blame for the sudden death of a 12-year-old girl in Detroit.

Police said K'Brianna Griffin was with friends Wednesday night in the backyard of a home on Saint Mary's Street when she backed into a low-hanging electrical wire and was electrocuted. The Wayne County Medical Examiner ruled this an accidental death by electrocution. 

DTE Energy said the wire is from the Detroit Public Lightning Department (PLD). The utility companies released the following joint statement on Thursday: 

"We are deeply concerned about the circumstances of this tragedy and are continuing to investigate every aspect of this incident to determine exactly what happened from the time a problem was first reported. Our initial investigation indicates that an out-of-service Public Lighting Department wire fell and crossed over a live DTE wire, which effectively energized the PLD line that the young girl came into contact with. We are committed to taking the necessary steps to ensure this doesn't happen again. Our hearts go out to the family of this young girl during this very difficult time."

DTE said they had notified the city about the downed wire, and Detroit police said neighbors told them the wire had been down for awhile. 

"Information from the citizens is that the wire has been down for awhile," Detroit police Captain Mark Thornton said. "The residents of the location have just moved in within the last month and really weren't aware that there was any danger."

Neighbors said they thought there was a fire. 

"All of our power went out, probably around 8:30," said Kristin Prince, a neighbor. "Thought maybe a house was on fire. I smelled burning and came out and, little by little, kind of got the stories."


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