Outage Frustrates Ferndale and Brings Community Together
Residents praise city for efforts during power outage in 90-degree heat.
It was clear Monday night that Ferndale residents and city council members were pleased with the community's response to a power outage that started at 5:50 p.m. Wednesday, ended at 6 a.m. Saturday and affected most of the city.
"I want to make a distinction between the city and DTE's response," resident George Chapp said during public comment. "I'm incredibly proud of Ferndale, incredibly proud of the fire department, police department, the Kulick Center. Everyone in the city has been incredibly helpful and very cooperative."
DTE Energy said the outage that affected most of Ferndale was due to the 90-degree weather. As many as 5,000 homes and businesses were without power Wednesday night when one of two transformers failed at the West Nine Mile and Dover substation. DTE crews worked Thursday to transfer power from the blown transformer to the working transformer. On Thursday night about 10:25 p.m., the second transformer blew, shutting down power to about 6,000 residents.
DTE brought in portable generators on Friday to restore power. At 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning, DTE shut down the substation to make repairs, cutting power to about 6,000 homes and businesses. Crews worked through the night and by 6 a.m., power was fully restored to Ferndale.
"There was a bright spot in the great blackout of 2011," resident Dennis Hoeppner said. "The Kulick Center stepped up." He praised(Ferndale Recreation Director) Julie Hall, the mayor and the staff of the Kulick Center.
Others also gave to the city during its time of need – even those who were suffering an outage. Jack Aronson, founder of Ferndale-based Garden Fresh Gourmet, the largest producer of fresh salsa in the United States, lost power during the outage. Though he was frustrated, Coulter said, it didn't stop him from donating food to the Kulick Center.
Coulter said he called Aronson, who was clearly upset that his business had lost power. "I said, 'Maybe you're not going to like why I called you,' " Coulter said he told to Aronson. "The people at the Kulick are hungry and need food, I told him. He said, 'What do you need? I'll have it there.' "
Shortly after that phone call, the Kulick had chips and salsa for those at the center. Coulter added that Como's dropped off pizza and spaghetti, Little Caesar's brought more pizza, Towne Club dropped off sodas and Snapple, and DTE took water and ice to the Kulick.
The Ferndale Fire Department and DTE provided generators to the Kulick Center to keep it up and running through the night.
Other cities offered relief as well. Coulter said Hazel Park City Manager Edward Klobucher offered the keys to the Hazel Park Community Center if the power went out at the Kulick, and Southfield and Berkley offered Ferndale cots and generators.
"The outage was frustrating but it brought out the best in the city," Coulter said.
"Ferndale shows what a great city it is whether it's a millage or dealing with an outage," Councilman Galloway added. "Ferndale is a great place not because of the downtown but because of the people."