‘It’s our job to protect the residents’ -- Multiple Flat Rock homes evacuated, State of Emergency issued

Unexplained odor in southeastern Flat Rock has environmentalists investigating, city officials warning residents to leave house if smell detected

Federal and state hazardous materials teams from Downriver and western Wayne County went street-by-street and door-to-door Thursday in Flat Rock’s southeast neighborhoods

FLAT ROCK, Mich. – Officials hosted a news conference Friday morning regarding the unusual odor in Flat Rock.

A State of Emergency was declared Thursday by Wayne County.

The concern is an odor detected at one of Flat Rock’s sanitary sewer lift or pumping stations, and inside two homes in the Hickory Ridge subdivision. Flat Rock officials said if residents smell the odor or feel ill, contact them immediately and get to fresh air. The smell was first detected at a home and a sanitary sewer lift station south of Gibraltar Road.

A State of Emergency was declared Thursday.

As of Friday morning, seven homes have been evacuated and hundreds of environmental safety investigators are in the area. Authorities said crews are working with gas stations, auto lots and the Ford Flat Rock Assembly Plant to see if they have had any spills.

“Public safety is our main concern,” said Mayor Mark Hammond. “If we think this is moving at all, we’re going to notify those residents, we’re going to notify those businesses and we are going to continue to monitor until we find the source, find the substance. It’s our job to protect the residents.”

Samples have been taken to a lab for testing, but the chemical remains unidentified.

School closed

River Heights Academy on Olmstead Road is closing Friday, Sept. 3 for this very reason. The school is temporarily closing while the investigation continues. The school plans to be open for Tuesday’s classes.

More: Downriver news

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

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.