DETROIT – A 12-year-old girl was electrocuted Wednesday night on Detroit's west side while playing in the backyard of a home in the 16700 block of St. Mary's Street near Grove Street, Detroit officials said.
Police said the girl was visiting friends at the home and they were video taping each other dancing when she backed into a low-handing electrical wire. She was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said.
"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."
"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."
DTE crews at the scene said their investigation showed the wire is from Detroit Public Lighting. They said they have notified the city about the incident.
"The incident that occurred tonight was tragic, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the young lady," DTE said in a statement. "We are working with the city and other agencies as they investigate this unfortunate event. The electrical line was part of the city’s electrical system. We will continue to work with the city to fully understand the circumstances."
"It is very difficult, and impossible, to really console the family with such a tragic accident like this," Thornton said.
On Thursday, DTE and Detroit Public Lighting Department issued this joint statement:
"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."
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