DETROIT (WWJ) – Multiple homes on Detroit’s east side were evacuated due to a fire and hazardous materials situation at a chemical company.
The two-alarm fire broke out at around 2:30 p.m. Thursday at Chemical Technology Incorporated in the area of Mt. Elliot and McNichols.
Officials said it was a level three HAZMAT situation; with level four being the worst.
Detroit Police Sgt. Michael Woody said a three-block radius, between St. Louis and Luce, was evacuated.
“I was just laying in my bed and I heard a couple booms,” said Charlissa Matthews, who lives behind the plant. “And then I jumped up and I seen a lot of smoke; so, yeah, it was pretty scary.”
At nearby White Elementary, all students were sent home for the day.
DDOT, the Health Department and the Salvation Army were called to scene to help with the evacuations.
Billowing smoke was seen for miles and police asked people to avoid the area; but a spokesman for Chemical Technology told said that nothing in the smoke was dangerous to public health.
Company owner Giarard Weber was inside the building when the fire broke out.
“It was an accident,” Weber told WWJ’s Stephanie Davis. “A small fire started in an area and we got out, evacuated the building, and called 911.”
Weber said emergency response time was “very slow,” with firefighters showing up 30 minutes after the initial call for help. Otherwise, he said, the building might have been saved.
Taras Hayda who works at the Electric Tool Company about two blocks away, said black flames and smoke were shooting into the air from the roof.
“It’s a pretty bad odor that the smoke is smelling like …that I couldn’t tell you exactly,” Hayda said.
The fire was out by around 6 p.m., and evacuated residents were allowed to return to their homes.
No one was hurt.
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