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E-M:/ catastrophic release
- Subject: E-M:/ catastrophic release
- From: "Pam Ortner" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Sat, 14 Jul 2001 13:17:43 -0400
- Delivered-To: email@example.com
- Delivered-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- List-Name: Enviro-Mich
- Reply-To: "Pam Ortner" <email@example.com>
This was a catastrophic
release. The EPA was notified. Towns were evacuated.
There were evacuations for
surrounding communities. Part of the Detroit River was
Bad situation for both workers and
The chemical released if methyl
mercaptan, used by Atofina in production of other chemicals.
Two dead in chemical fire.
By LAURA POTTS
The Associated Press
RIVERVIEW, Mich. (AP) -- Two men died at a
chemical factory and a third worker is missing following an explosion and fire
on Saturday, a company spokeswoman said.
ATOFINA Chemicals Inc. spokeswoman Jane Crawford
said the victims were Edwin J. Wrobleski, 47, a shift superintendent with 27
years of service, and Kenneth J. Cox, 56, an operator with 13 years with the
company. The missing worker's name was not released.
Wrobleski lived in Riverview. Cox lived in
Rockwood. Company investigators didn't know if the men died during the blast or
from the fire, Crawford said.
A railcar carrying a dangerous chemical exploded
about 4:30 a.m. EDT, prompting the evacuations of hundreds of families in Grosse
Ile Township. The township is on an island in the Detroit River, just east of
this suburban Detroit community.
The car was still burning and leaking at 10:15
a.m., said company engineer Ron Potier.
In Grosse Ile Township, people who live on the
island's north end were ordered to leave, said Township Clerk Ute O'Connor.
About 400 families were affected.
"We're playing it safe in case the wind shifts,"
she said. "We're basically saying if you can get off the island, go."
The burning chemical was methyl mercaptan, or
methanethiol, a flammable substance used in pharmaceutical and agricultural
"It's extremely dangerous if inhaled directly.
We're getting it diffused," O'Connor said, describing the chemical's smell as
like "really bad body odor."
Riverview fire Capt. Ken Williamson said the area
around the factory is mostly industrial, but about 40 homes have been evacuated.
He said he could not release any information about injuries.
Canadian authorities closed a portion of the
Detroit River to boaters until further notice because of the fire, said U.S.
Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Jeff Dale.
ATOFINA, headquartered in Philadelphia, has 4,000
employees in 20 plants in North America and 16 others worldwide. The Riverview
plant is the company's oldest, opened in 1898. It has 212 workers, spokeswoman
Connie Wickersham said.
ATOFINA is owned by owned by TotalFina Elf of