Lawsuit targets companies after multiple victims injured by steam from manhole covers in Detroit

20 people represented in lawsuit

Lawsuit claims steam from manholes injured people in Downtown Detroit

DETROIT – They're everywhere across Metro Detroit -- the manholes and steam are really a part of life for people living in Detroit.

Recently, the manholes, steam and the companies behind them -- Detroit Thermal, LLC, Detroit Renewable Energy LLC and Project Mist HoldCo, LLC -- are the center of a 17-page lawsuit.

"These companies are all for-profit companies and either individually or in concert, have been responsible for burning our clients," said Robert Lantzy, an attorney with Buckfire Law Firm.

Lantzy and attorney Nicholas Vesprini are representing 20 clients in the lawsuit. The lawyers claim the victims all suffered burns to their legs and feet from steam coming from manhole covers in Detroit.

"The ages of the victims range anywhere from 3 years old to 71 years old," Lantzy said.

Caleb Tahmouch, 6, was 5 at the time of his accident.

"To see your son go through that was really hard," Sarah Tahmouch said.

Tahmouch said steam from the manhole burned her son while at the Science Center in Downtown Detroit while he was walking across the street.

"We had to go to the UM burn unit where they had to pop those blisters and put bandages on them, and we had to clean them ourselves," Tahmouch said.

Brandon Dumas was injured in a hit-and-run accident and landed on a manhole cover.

"Right now, I'm more or less recovered. When it first happened, I was severely injured," Brandon Dumas said.

Detroit Thermal released the following statement:

"We have not received formal notification of a lawsuit and cannot comment on pending litigation.

"Health and safety are top priorities for Detroit Thermal. Under the direction of new ownership and local leadership, we are working every day to deliver safer, more efficient service for our customers and community. The closing of Detroit Renewable Power in March freed up hundreds of thousands of dollars to invest in improving and modernizing our natural gas facility and underground steam pipes. We strive more than anything to be a good neighbor. Our team constantly monitors the system to identify and perform any necessary maintenance.

"If you see any visible plumes, please contact Detroit Thermal by calling 313-972-5700."