Detroit city officials respond to growing requests to evacuate neighborhood after ground shift damages area

Cause of road buckling on Fort, Dearborn streets still unknown

"At no time have they gave us any indication that the residents were in danger."

DETROIT – Hakim Berry, Detroit’s Chief Operating Officer, had great news Saturday regarding the area of Dearborn and Fort streets in Southwest Detroit.

Related: Progress being made in efforts to secure site of ground shift in Detroit, city officials say

“No more major movement under the pavement has occurred for about a week,” Berry said.

The ground mysteriously opened up Sept. 12, which caused a lot of destruction. For days, several crews have been working around the clock, trying to figure out what happened.

“We’ll be completing our boring over the weekend. That’s where we’ll be doing various soil samples about 100 feet,” Berry said. “We look to start excavating sometime early next week. Then we can get into more of what’s underneath there and what caused the opening.”

Neighbors complained about a strong odor in the area. Berry said that issue is now fixed.

“There was an initial minor gas leak that DTE repaired within the first day or so,” said Berry.

Several lawmakers -- including Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Detroit City Council member Raquel Castaneda-Lopez -- pushed Friday for the city to evacuate nearby residents until the site is safe and secured.

“They deserve human dignity,” Tlaib said. “They deserved to know exactly what happened.”

“I am here to call on the Mayor’s office, on the Department of Homeland Security, to immediately go out, canvass the community -- in English and in Spanish -- that folks have access and options,” said Castaneda-Lopez.

Berry had this to say about that request:

“From day one, when the incident occurred, we have had every agency out -- all of our utilities out and these are the entities that we rely on to tell us if the public is in imminent danger and need to evacuate and at no time have they gave us any indication that the residents were in danger.”

Berry said if there’s a dangerous situation to the residents, then they will act immediately. There’s currently a process of elimination for the cause. As of now, they know it’s not water, gas or electricity that caused the disruption.

The city will begin excavation with heavy equipment Monday or Tuesday.

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