The black smoke so thick, the flames so massive, the fire in Livonia Wednesday morning filled the sky.
The Livonia Fire Department got to the ERG Environmental Services warehouse on Merriman Road just before 7:30 a.m.
The flames quickly spread through the roof before mini-explosions started from inside the building.
“The popping noises you heard were from the containers holding some of these hazardous materials. They were heating up from the fire and coming apart,” said Livonia Fire Chief Shadd Whitehead.
Now, the concern is ground contamination from the hazardous materials -- such as oils, petroleum-based paints, antifreeze, aerosol cans, solvents and household cleaners.
“We have hazmat teams that will be sampling the drains and there’s a cleanup company that will be working with ERG to help boom the waterways and testing the air quality,” Whitehead said.
Whitehead also said area residents do not need to be concerned about their drinking water, because their water comes from Detroit and any runoff will not affect that supply. But hazmat crews will be working to stop these materials from running off. The Environmental Protection Agency has been contacted as well.
“Quite a bit of products have left the site. That’s our biggest concern, that the oils stay on the surface they have the tendency to float and get carried away,” said Whitehead.
The cause of this fire is still unknown but the chief believes it may have sparked during the transfer of some of these chemical materials.
Incredibly, no one was injured but the cleanup has just begun.
Merriman Road has reopened.