Crews going door-to-door in Flat Rock urging evacuations after chemical spill

Flat Rock schools set to start classes this week amid gas leak

Residents in two areas of Flat Rock urged to evacuate
Residents in two areas of Flat Rock urged to evacuate

FLAT ROCK, Mich. – On Monday, teams went door-to-door in areas where experts recommended Flat Rock residents evacuate due to a gas leak.

The state is still monitoring the hazardous fumes caused by the gas leak at Ford’s Flat Rock assembly plant.

Officials have canceled this weekend’s Flat Rock Riverfest because of the ongoing state of emergency.

Hotel vouchers are being handed out at Flat Rock Community High School.

Ford Motor Company on Wednesday discovered a gas leak at its Flat Rock Assembly Plant. The company closed the pipe and thought the spill was contained to its property. That was not the case. Officials have identified two zones that are potentially exposed to dangerous benzene fumes from the leak.

Click here to see a map of the affected area.

New Today: Flat Rock schools set to start classes this week amid gas leak

The community is at risk of exposure to high levels of benzene, considered a total Volatile Organic Compound (VOC), which can be harmful to human health, according to the state. Measurements of air inside buildings and sewer lines have shown levels of VOCs exceeding health protective and explosive levels, the state added.

Benzene is a flammable and colorless liquid with a sweet odor used to make other chemicals. It is found in gasoline, crude oil and tobacco smoke. Breathing in higher levels of benzene can cause people to feel sleepy or dizzy, have headaches, vomit or have a rapid heart rate. Both long and short-term exposure to benzene can increase risks of cancer, cause blood problems, and harm the immune system.

Read: Flat Rock gas leak not ‘imminent danger’ to residents, head of Michigan health department says

Read more: Michigan health department, Wayne County recommend evacuation for areas of Flat Rock due to hazardous fumes from gas leak

Speaking at the press conference Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Elizabeth Hertel said, “We are asking residents in affected areas to evacuate until we can resolve this situation. Response teams will be going door-to-door today to make sure that residents are informed and receive quick and accurate information about evacuation resources. We do not believe there is any imminent danger to residents at this time. However, we are acting out of an abundance of caution.”

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Crews going door-to-door to urge evacuations after chemical spill in Flat Rock
Crews going door-to-door to urge evacuations after chemical spill in Flat Rock

Prior coverage:

More: Downriver news


About the Authors:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.

Natasha Dado is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit.