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Saturday, January 22, 2022

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    Flat Rock residents weigh evacuation after health official says gas leak no ‘imminent danger’

    Flat Rock – State officials are urging residents of several Flat Rock neighborhoods to evacuate their homes during an ongoing investigation into a gasoline-related chemical leak from a Ford Motor Co. plant.

    Officials say they are unaware of how many residents could potentially have been exposed to the chemical that can cause health problems if exposed to a large dose or over a longer period of time. As of Sunday, about a dozen homes have been evacuated in Flat Rock where 10,500 people live, according to the 2020 census.

    “We don’t believe there is any imminent danger to residents at this time,” Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Elizabeth Hertel said during a Sunday morning press briefing. But Hertel said officials are still asking people in the impacted areas to leave “out of an abundance of caution.”

    A virtual town hall will be held at 7 p.m. Sunday on Facebook to address resident concerns and will include numerous state and local officials.

    The first evacuation began Thursday. Later, Friday more were ordered. Nine homes, one business, and one charter school have so far been evacuated.

    Residents who choose to evacuate will not be expected to pay for accommodations, officials said, and should call United Way at 211 for assistance.

    The genesis of the leak was from a gasoline storage tank at Ford’s Flat Rock Assembly Plant, which builds the company’s Mustang sports car. The tank is used to fuel up the cars after they are built, according to T.R. Reid, a Ford spokesperson.

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