Evacuation was recommended for citizens in Wayne County on Sunday due to a gas leak at Ford Motor Company. According to a Michigan State Police press release, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services(MDHHS) and Wayne County Health Department officials recommended the evacuation of residents of the Flat Rock area, bounded by I-75 to the east, Gibraltar Road to the north, Cahill Road to the west and Woodruff Road to the south.

Residents were advised overnight on Saturday to evacuate their homes until further notice due to the potential risks caused by fumes from a gasoline leak from a storage tank at the Ford Motor Company’s Flat Rock Assembly Plant. Response units began going door-to-door on Sunday to inform residents of the leak and the evacuation. They were uncertain which specific homes may have been exposed.

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The community is at risk of exposure to high levels of benzene which can be harmful to human health. Benzene is a flammable and colorless liquid with a sweet odor used to make other chemicals. It is found in gasoline, crude oil and tobacco smoke. Breathing in higher levels of benzene can cause people to feel sleepy or dizzy, have headaches, vomit or have a rapid heart rate.

Both long- and short-term exposure to benzene can increase risks of cancer, cause blood problems, and harm the immune system. Considered a Volatile Organic Compound(VOC), measurements of air inside buildings and sewer lines have shown levels of VOCs exceeding health-protective and/or explosive levels.

Details on just when residents will be allowed to return to their homes have not been released. According to the MDHHS, this is an “evolving situation,” and they will continue to provide updates when they become available.

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