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Re: E-M:/ catastrophic release

Enviro-Mich message from RobC313@aol.com

This industrial accident was tragic for the victims (of course) but also 
holds tragic potential for the exposed community.  Whenever I hear about one 
of these types of incidents I wonder how our community can protect itself 
from the same thing. I'm sure there are laws in place but are they enforced?  
Hamtramck has two major expressways and an active rail line going threw 
(around) us.  Can the average person assume to be safe? Even if they live in 
an industrial area?

Rob Cedar

In a message dated 7/14/2001 1:12:06 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
ortpam@mediaone.net writes:

<< This was a catastrophic release.  The EPA was notified.  Towns were 
 There were evacuations for surrounding communities.  Part of the Detroit 
River was closed.
 Bad situation for both workers and community.
 The chemical released if methyl mercaptan, used by Atofina in production of 
other chemicals. 
 Two dead in chemical fire.
 The Associated Press
 7/14/01 10:29 AM
 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 
 "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 products. 
 "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 
 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 
 ATOFINA is owned by owned by TotalFina Elf of Paris. 

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