Toxic Fireball in Wayne Michigan

This is all happening about two miles from where our own Queen_Tonya lives – she’s got a houseful of friends who are evacuated from the immediate area.

Scary stuff!


Yep, I’m all good but my phone’s ringing off the hook! I was out when it happened and it took us ages to get home thru all the blocked off roads. My neighborhood’s in the ‘clear’ zone, about 8 blocks past the community center being used as an evac site.

I work right across the street from the chem plant that exploded, it’s become a pretty industrialized pocket in the last decade or so. 5 auto plants, an impound yard, chem plant, waste mgt company and 3 gas stations within a half mile, so all of us were confused wondering which had actually exploded at first.

Metro airport is about 4 miles from there, the plant makes deicing chemicals even.

Since I’m over a mile out of the evacuation zone, I’ve got a houseful of friends. Apparently even my floor rates above the crowded tiled floor at the school or community center. :smiley:

Mrs Geek just called downstairs (I live in a cave in the basement).

Mrs Geek: What was that chemical plant you went to in Detroit last year?
Me: It wasn’t a chemical plant it was a steel mill.
Mrs Geek: Oh. Well a checmical plant just blew up.
Me: :eek:

I happen to design industrial control systems, so my first thought is was this one of our customers, and did our control system just f— up? (bad things happen in chemical plants when control systems f---- up - Bhopal is the first thing that usually pops into my mind).

I’ve been through training for what to do in a chemical plant when things go boom. I can only imagine what those poor guys at the plant are going through right now. With a little luck there won’t be any fatalities, but when they are using words like “fireball” and “toxic” it’s not a good thing.

According to the link it’s not a company that uses one of our control systems, but that doesn’t make me feel any better.

Amazingly, the reports so far (and this happened about 9:00 eastern) say no one in the plant was injured!

The cynical part of me wonders how they can tell, since it’s still raging, but that’s nice to hear. There’s a pretty decent sized hospital 2 miles from the plant, I heard they’ve treated and released lots of neighborhood folks for smoke inhalation, but none have been admitted so that’s encouraging.

No word yet on what started it, might be ages before we know the real cause.
Heh, they’re telling us on the TV coverage to keep our windows and doors shut and run the central A/C if we have it, but then the state troopers are driving thru the neighborhoods saying something on loudspeakers. I made it out to the porch just in time to see the taillights turn a distant corner.

Ooh, breaking news, they’ve decided the evacuation center (1 mile NE of the fire) isn’t safe, they’re bussing them to a high school 2 miles away. :eek:

I live well north of Wayne, in Farmington Hills, but obviously it’s all over the news. Early reports were that they don’t think anyone was killed. People were saying that the air “smelled funny,” so evacuating the locals is definitely a good idea. Last I heard, the fire was still so intense that firefighting crews couldn’t even get close enough to fight it.

When something goes boom, everyone in the plant goes to designated safe areas. These safe areas usually have some sort of communications device so that they can coordinate disaster control. They can get a head count of who is where pretty quick.

I’m glad to know there were no fatalities. I can’t think of too many worse places to be than in a chemical plant when something goes sour.

People are claiming they can smell it there?!

That’s tough to believe, it’s not bad on my property, 3 miles away. Of course, I live three miles from all this industrial crap, so maybe I just stopped smelling years ago. :wink:

I’m so thankful we haven’t lost power, selfish as that sounds. I’ve nuked 5 bags of popcorn and ran out of soda and moved on to koolaid, if we lose the central air we’re so hit.

No, you can’t smell it up here. It was people on the news (in Wayne or Romulus) who were complaining.

On the forum, someone posted this bit of info:

This one’s gonna burn for quite a while yet.

Oh, that makes a lot more sense that way, sorry. :smack:

Yeah, my plant and the GM plant already told their employees not to report for day or afternoon shifts tomorrow and to listen to the radio for updates. This isn’t going out anytime soon.

A few months ago, a magnesium recycling plant here in Anderson burned. The FD was pretty sharp, and they evacuated a big section of the town. After a couple days, they let folks go home, but they told them not to let the kids play in the yard until after a rain. Something in the smoke was a toxic powder. A few weeks later, it occurred to them that the roof of the melted building was insulated with asbestos, and there was a new round of notifications.

One of the employees had a history of arson. It was an impressive fire. I live about 5 miles away, and I could see the fireball.

So, save some grass clippings and take some swabbings of the dust on your windows. Change your furnace filter now, and save the old one. I’m not a sue-everybody kind of guy, but if it turns out you’ve been hurt, it’s good to have evidence. :eek:

Any further developments?

Nothing much, it’s not out yet and they haven’t told the evacuees to return home.

Wow. I hope everything’s okay…


Hmmm. If they decide to burn the whole lower peninsula, just shoot me an email and I’ll get all the troll dopers a passport so they’ll let you in the UP. Because, you know, we’ve been preparing for this all along, and we know this is the first place all you trolls will run to when the LP goes away. They’re probably barricading the bridge as I type this.

Gee thanks Athena! :stuck_out_tongue:

This is kinda fun, like summer camp. After an emergency grocery store run in my pajamas, we got everyone fed and the kids are actually playing well together. There’s one other mom here with me and we’ve counted over a dozen drive-bys of city ordinance cars, dunno what that’s about.

No word yet on how long all the plants near the burning chemical plant will be shut down, not that many of my coworkers are objecting to free time off.

Pretty good response time for all the emergency services, I think. Although someone should have perhaps anticipated the wind shift that caused them to evacuate the evacuation center and switch everyone at 11:30. Red Cross got a catering bus looking thing set up by midnight with hot and cold drinks, blankets and phone service, they were offering food by this morning. Neighboring police departments helped man the barricades, and state troopers went street to street evacuating folks. The local humane society brought pet food and volunteer walkers to the high school evacuation site this morning, a pretty good portion of the 1000 evacuees brought pets along.

We had a brief rain shower pass over, the HAZMAT folks were jumping for joy about it, any little bit that helps settle all the particulate crud is good. They’re saying the evacuated folks can’t return home before tomorrow at the earliest, I wonder about all the pets left at home.

So, a lot of inconvienenced folks, but precious few injuries thankfully. All in all, coulda been much worse!

I wouldn’t be surprised. I once smelled the smoke from a huge church fire some 40 miles away.

I was downtown when it happened (right by Cobo) and never smelled anything.

Of course the other odors of Detroit may have got in the way.