Utility Fires Workers After Detroit-Area Blast

March 17, 2013

Consumers Energy said Friday it fired some employees after investigating a gas explosion that killed a 58-year-old man in a suburban Detroit neighborhood.

The utility wouldn’t disclose the number, but said workers were terminated “for failure to follow established policies and procedures.”

Separately, Consumers said it has resumed some projects in Michigan that involve directional boring and should have crews back to full operation by Monday.

Mary Palkovich, executive manager of gas assets, said directional boring is no more dangerous than other means of setting pipe.

“It’s only more dangerous if the excavator who’s using the tool doesn’t follow the rules,” she said.

Daniel Malczynski of Royal Oak was killed last month. Crews replacing a gas main in his neighborhood may have damaged the line. His house was destroyed and others were damaged.

“Our experts continue to be available to meet with residents and businesses in a wider area around the site, identifying any concerns and offering additional safety testing,” Consumers said.

Consumers is the main subsidiary of Jackson-based CMS Energy. It provides electricity and natural gas to nearly 7 million Michigan residents.

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