Fire at a Detroit-Area Chemical Plant Results in Hundreds of Homes Evacuated

Four-year-old Shade Courtney and his 2-year-old sister Sierra had just gone to bed Tuesday night when their mother woke them up and told them they had to leave their home.

The fire caused eight metal tanks containing acetone, a chemical used to clean machinery, to melt to half their original size. Kirby had said the fire was expected to burn out Wednesday morning; fire officials Wednesday morning had no updated estimate.

He urged residents within a half-mile radius to evacuate and said it would be a good idea for people within a mile radius to do so as well.

Hazardous materials officials had tested the air quality and found no danger present, Kirby said. But workers from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency were on their way to conduct more tests.

Wayne Mayor Al Haidous declared a state of emergency at about 10:10 p.m. He said winds were blowing the fumes and smoke from the plant northeast into his city.

The area included in the evacuation included about 1,000 homes in Wayne and another 150 in Romulus, but it was unclear how many people chose to leave, officials said.

Romulus is located about 25 miles southwest of Detroit and is home to Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Mike Conway, a spokesman for the airport, said Wednesday morning that flights weren't affected by the fire.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press

Related Articles: