Testing confirms Zone 2 in Flat Rock cleared, residents who evacuated due to gas leak can return home

State officials say progress for Zone 1 ongoing

FLAT ROCK, Mich. – Michigan and Wayne County officials announced on Monday, Sept. 20, that Zone 2 in Flat Rock is now clear of any impact from the gas leak at the Ford Flat Rock Assembly Plant.

Residents who chose to evacuate can return home.

According to a press release from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), the zone includes 635 homes and is bounded by Gibraltar Road to north Sheeks Boulevard to the west, East Huron River Drive to the south and Tamarack Road to the east as well as buildings along Woodruff Road between East Huron River Drive and Cahill Road.

Read: Information resources for those impacted by the Ford Flat Rock Assembly leak

“MDHHS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used data from 12 houses across Flat Rock that initially had elevated benzene levels or gasoline odors inside their homes to confirm that sewer testing can be used to validate that air levels in homes are below health levels,” read the press release.

Ford Motor Company, which said its assembly plant was the cause of the leak, continues to provide families in impacted zones 1 and 2 with hotel accommodations. Although Zone 2 is cleared, the automotive company said it will provide accommodations for residents who have requested testing at their home and are awaiting written results. If residents need accommodations, they can call 734-782-2455 and use extension 1105.

Health officials believed Zone 2 needed further investigation of potential chemical exposure. However, the risk didn’t warrant an evacuation recommendation and instead residents were advised that they could consider leaving if they were not comfortable while an investigation was ongoing.

“I know evacuation has been a hardship for many Flat Rock residents, but it was critical that health experts took the time to collect and analyze sufficient data so that residents can have peace of mind returning to and remaining in their homes,” said Wayne County Chief Operating Officer Genelle Allen. “Our team has worked closely with the MDHHS, the EPA, the City of Flat Rock and other agencies to protect residents’ health and safety.”

Additionally, Ford has set up a website to provide information regarding the response to the leak. It can be found here.

The city of Flat Rock is proving daily updates on its official website here and its official Facebook page here.

Daily updates from the EPA on the response can be found on its official website here.

Updates from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy can be found on its website here.

“I’m pleased that Zone 2 residents now have assurance that the gas leak is not impacting the air quality in their homes,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan chief medical executive and MDHHS chief deputy director for health. “Our team will continue to work hard along with our partners from state, local and federal agencies as we assess screening and monitoring data from Zone 1 swiftly and thoroughly. Out of an abundance of caution, our recommendation to Zone 1 residents is that they remain evacuated until we know from the data that they can return home.”

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DeJanay Booth joined WDIV as a web producer in July 2020. She previously worked as a news reporter in New Mexico before moving back to Michigan.