September 2005

Hazardous waste recycling plant burned

Romulus, MI— A fire and explosions at The Environmental Quality Co. (EQ) in Romulus, Michigan, forced the temporary closing of the hazardous-waste recycling and treatment plant near the Detroit Metro Airport August 10.

Authorities reported no injuries and no one was inside the plant when the fire started at approximately 9PM Tuesday, August 9. Firefighters had a difficult time fighting the fire due to the multiple explosions and plumes of black smoke rolling off the site.

The mayor of neighboring community, Wayne, Michigan, Al Haidous, declared a state of emergency and urged the evacuation of residents within a half-mile radius because it was unclear exactly what chemicals were burning and air quality could pose a danger to resident’s health. At least 1,000 homes were evacuated in Wayne and it is unclear exactly how many were evacuated in Romulus.

EQ´s director of corporate communications, Dan Gilbert, indicated that only part of the plant was affected by the fire, which was still burning Wednesday, August 10, on the 11-acre EQ Resource Recovery Inc. site.

According to Dan Gilbert, the area of the plant that appeared to have been destroyed includes one of two tank farms and a drum pad. The fire appears to have bypassed the area that handles wastewater treatment and oil recycling. The fire will force companies that use the plant for recycling and treatment of hazardous materials, to look for other options temporarily, Gilbert said.

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