Sep 14 2021
As residents of Flat Rock continue to assess their evacuation options after a gasoline spill in the sewer system, the number of residents seeking refuge in prepaid hotel rooms has increased.
Shortly after August 31, when fumes were detected in homes in Flat Rock and in the sewer system, residents began evacuations.
A storage tank at the Ford Flat Rock Assembly Plant was found to be the source of the spill and the substance was identified as toxic benzene gas.
According to Tiffani Jackson, director of communications for the Wayne County Public Services Department, hotel rooms are still available for those who have decided to stay in their home or who originally stayed with a family member and now have need a place to stay.
Ian Thibodeau, Ford’s Director of Corporate Communications, explained the process regarding how hotels were selected and how the process was organized.
“We have worked to identify hotels in the area that meet Ford standards and are able to accommodate evacuees from Flat Rock,” said Thibodeau.
As of Tuesday, the company was assisted by more than 20 hotels in the area serving residents.
Jackson said hotels aren’t limited to the downstream area. At least one is as far away as Southfield, according to a resident who said that’s where he was posted.
Thibodeau declined to share the names of participating hotels.
“To respect the privacy of the residents concerned, we do not provide this information,” he said. “Any resident requiring hotel accommodation due to the evacuation can call 734-782-2455 (select option 6) for more details.”
Residents were initially asked to call 211 to obtain a hotel voucher, but that number is no longer in service.
Thibodeau said about 600 hotel rooms are in use by affected residents, some of which allow pets.
It is not known what the average cost per night for accommodation is. Thibodeau would only say that the expense varies by location.
“Ford is covering the cost of all housing,” he said.
Jackson said residents will be allowed to stay in hotels until all health and safety concerns are resolved and residents are allowed to return home. More than 1,000 homes have been evacuated.
Thibodeau assured that if a resident’s home is in the affected areas, which have been divided into two areas, that resident will be offered accommodation for his household as long as he has confirmation from the hotel staff of town of Flat Rock.
Thibodeau said each situation is unique, adding that hotels strive to meet all “reasonable requests”.