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Officials encourage Flat Rock residents to evacuate while 1100 homes are tested

City of Flat Rock

There are 1,100 homes affected by a gasoline leak in Flat Rock. Last week a storage tank at the Ford assembly plant leaked into the sewers.

475 families have already accepted hotel vouchers paid for by Ford to evacuate their homes. Others are staying with family or headed Up North to summer cabins. But, not everyone plans to evacuate if they don’t need to. They want the city to test their homes before they decide.

Flat Rock Mayor Mark Hammond says that’s not how it works.

“We’re not sending people out to individually scan homes because there’s eleven hundred of them and we just can’t hit them all in a timely manner. Evacuate. Get a voucher is you need one,” Hammond said.

Hammond says there’s potentially benzene –a chemical in gasoline- still in the sewer system at harmful levels.

Residents living in the areas affected can call the phone number 2-1-1 to get vouchers and get on the notification list when their home is tested and found to be okay.

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
Flat Rock Mayor Mark Hammond.

“We’ll make sure that you’re in the schedule to be cleared by the Department of Health and Human Services at the state. And they will let everybody know when it’s safe to return,” Hammond said.

It’s estimated it could take weeks to properly test all the homes for chemical vapors.

*Correction: An earlier version of this story said the state was providing hotel vouchers. That is incorrect. Ford is paying for the vouchers. The story has been corrected above.

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Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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