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State lawmaker critical of Detroit fire response

House Democrats

State Representative Rashida Tlaib  said she is disappointed with how Detroit first responders reacted to a fire and explosion at a Marathon Oil Refinery last week.

Residents in neighboring Melvindale were ordered to evacuate, but Tlaib said those who live near the refinery in southwest Detroit didn't hear from the authorities.

"There is so much information, a wealth of information in these other communities that house dangerous industries like Marathon," Tlaib said. "They are prepared. Our city of Detroit is not prepared."

The Detroit Democrat and a handful of community groups are calling on the city to publicize an evacuation plan for the neighborhood around the Marathon refinery in the next 30 days.

"The problem is there's no communication to the community of whether or not they're supposed to stay in their homes or leave their homes," Tlaib said. "And if they had to leave their homes, where are they supposed to go? Who are they supposed to wait for to come knocking on their door? Are they supposed to listen to sirens? Is there going to be an announcement?"

A spokesman for the Detroit Fire Department says there is an evacuation plan, but residents were not evacuated because the wind was blowing in the opposite direction.

-- Joseph Lichterman, Michigan Radio Newsroom