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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

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    Fuel leak info slow in coming and confusing, Flat Rock residents say

    It was Saturday night when cell phones throughout a large part of Flat Rock started lighting up with emergency text messages recommending evacuation from a more than 3-square-mile area of the city. Benzene-containing fumes, at alarming levels, were spreading in the city’s sanitary sewer system, caused by a large fuel leak at the nearby Ford assembly plant.

    But residents have known about an environmental problem since some began smelling the fumes on Tuesday. Some residents of the Hickory Ridge subdivision were evacuated Thursday, after their homes tested for high levels of benzene, a fuel byproduct and potential carcinogen.

    Frustrated residents speaking Sunday cited lacking, inconsistent communication from the city and emergency responders, leaving the residents themselves to try to fill in information gaps. Responding health officials at a press conference, however, said they’re trying to be transparent, and give the best advice they can in an evolving environmental emergency.

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