Detroit residents want evacuation plan after Marathon refinery fire

City of Detroit says emergency evacuation plans are in place

DETROIT - People who live in southwest Detroit want to know why they were not given evacuation orders following last Saturday's explosion and fire at the Marathon oil refinery.

A large storage tank exploded and burned.  The fire was immediately determined to be a Hazmat situation, and residents in nearby Melvindale were evacuated.

Related: Residents file class action lawsuit against Marathon Oil

But there were no such orders for the Detroit neighborhood adjacent to the refinery.

Resident Jacqueline Smith said she got no useful information when she called the Marathon emergency phone number.

"The man got on there so abruptly and said I don't have time to talk to you," Smith said.

Detroit city council member Brenda Jones met with neighborhood residents Friday and said she too is looking for answers.

"What I want is an evacuation plan to be put in place. That's who I'm siding with right now in case another situation occurs," Jones said.

Detroit's Homeland Security office issued a statement in response to the concerns.

"The city of Detroit's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management has an evacuation plan for the entire city.  When evacuation is necessary, the city's plan includes a number of safe places where citizens can gather, such as local recreation centers and schools.  The evacuation plan is a living and evolving document that is adjusted to fit the conditions of each emergency situation," the statement read.

The southwest Detroit residents who gathered to discuss the situation Friday said they want more specific information, including streets to use and lists of places to go during an evacuation.

If they do not get that information within two weeks, those residents plan to to to the city council and mayor's office to demand answers.

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