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Officials provide answers in Flat Rock gas leak during virtual town hall

Posted at 8:42 AM, Sep 09, 2021

FLAT ROCK, Mich. (WXYZ) — People living in Flat Rock and nearby areas are tuning in to get answers and demanding accountability in the wake of a hazardous gas leak traced back to a Ford plant.

Many questions have been raised surrounding the health and safety of people. More than 1,100 have been forced to evacuate since August 30th.

Organized by Wayne County, a virtual town hall was a chance for people to ask questions of Ford, EGLE, the EPA, and others and to finally get more answers.

Now that a gas leak has been stopped, experts from the state, the feds, and Ford Motor Company fielded questions about benzene believed to have leaked into homes.

People living in the Hickory Ridge Subdivision are among those asking Flat Rock Mayor Mark Hammond about events that all began with a smell of gas.

Displaying a map of several zones and sewer lines that provided a path for the dangerous gas to travel from the Ford plant, investigators revealed some early findings.

They’re also testing drinking water and air samples.

The bottom line, data will determine when people can return home, but the state says they simply don’t have a date yet.

The source of this we’ve learned was inside an access pit where Ford identified a crack in a pipe Wednesday.

Ford has not yet determined exactly how long tank lines were leaking or how much was released, but it’s estimated to be roughly 1,400 gallons.

It’s still unknown when underground tanks were inspected by the state’s office of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

An EPA mobile lab is now being used to screen for gas-related vapors and a plan is being implemented to allow people to return safely to their homes.

Also, nearby River Heights Academy School is still being tested for fumes, along with other sites.

As for the decision to hold this meeting virtually which some criticized, organizers say it was simply about reaching as many people as possible.