Residents demand more answers on impact of chemical leak in Flat Rock

1,100 homes located in ‘area of concern’

Update on Flat Rock gas spill

FLAT ROCK, Mich. – Families are demanding answers on the impact of a chemical spill in Flat Rock and are becoming frustrated with the recent lack of communication.

The hazardous fumes were caused by a gas leak at Ford’s Flat Rock assembly plant. The leak was discovered on Wednesday (Sept. 1). The company closed the pipe and said it thought the spill was contained to its property. The spill was not contained to the property.

There are 1,100 homes in the “area of concern” and people living there are being asked to voluntarily evacuate the area.

“What was the cause of the issue? What caused it to go unnoticed for however many days?” Resident Lauren Teasedale said.

Lauren Teasedale packed up her two children and husband so they could stay in a motel Downriver. She didn’t want to leave their home, but she couldn’t ignore her pounding headaches last week.

“The 28th I had the worst headaches that I’ve had in such a long time and I don’t really get headaches all that often,” she said. “Sunday it was still really bad,” she said.

Lauren Teasedale’s family is one of 600 who are evacuating the area on Tuesday. She has also asked for the air quality in their home to be tested.

“We were told, specifically, ‘It’s going to be awhile.’ We were given no timeline. Just, ‘It’s gonna be awhile,’” she said. “Scary for my family. Scary for my kids.”

Questions, frustrations mounting in Flat Rock over Ford fuel line leak

A Wayne County commissioner took Local 4 inside a closed door meeting that was held to discuss the emergency.

A conference call was held Tuesday morning with federal, state and local officials along with two people from the Ford Flat Rock assembly plant.

Wayne County Commissioner Wayne Basham said Ford representatives could not answer his questions about the emergency.

“How deep is the line? How big was the line? What was the line made of?” Ray Basham said.

Basham wants his questions answered as soon as possible.

“If it happened once at this location, can it happen at another location?” Basham said.

Sean Gillapse is from Flat Rock. He has questions about how the situation is being handled.

“We knew there was a state of emergency before we knew anything about what was leaked, where it was leaked, how it was leaked, what the chemical was,” Gillaspe said.

Gillaspe has been speaking out for years about local industry polluting Flat Rock. He wants to know how long people have been exposed to the benzene fumes and if homes have been damaged.

About the Author:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.