DTE: No injuries after multi-alarm fire at East China facility (UPDATE)

- 4 p.m. Aug. 12 - WEB UPDATE: DTE Energy released a statement that the plant will remain closed and that customers in the area will not see an impact in their electrical service. There is no estimate as to when the plant will reopen. 

A large fire took place at a DTE Energy facility in East China Township Thursday night.

A DTE Energy official said that the incident can't be described as a explosion at this time. Almost 100 firefighters are responding from different departments.

About 50 employees were inside the facility at the time of the fire at 6:25 p.m., which started in Unit 7. It took about 5 minutes for everyone to be evacuated.

By 11 p.m. The fire is said to be under control estimated to be about 80 percent contained. Once the fire is contained on the outside, firefighters will go inside to put out hot spots. The possibility of a wind shift is also being considered, which could cause complications, officials said. 

WATCH: A press conference. Mobile users CLICK HERE.

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A DTE spokesperson said that the employees are accounted for and no one was hurt at the plant near Point Drive in St. Clair County.

First responders continue to fight the fire tonight which began earlier this evening after 6 p.m., when a possible explosion occurred and started the blaze. All local first responders got the call for the multiple-alarm fire including trucks, ladders and fire boats.

Justin Westmiller with the emergency operation staff for St. Clair County said crews have spent the evening putting water on the very large facility and continue to.

When FOX 2 first spoke with Westmiller, he couldn't tell us whether or not the fire was under control. At last check, they got the employees out of the plant safely during the evacuation process. They are still double checking just to make sure.

"One of the turbines let loose I guess," said Mark Voigt, DTE employee. "It was a chain reaction. That's all it took I guess, the fire just spread pretty good. It was on the roof, lot of smoke damage. A lot of fire on the flat roof there."

"I got four more years to retire, they were planning on shutting this plant down in five years," said Jim Rataj. "If there's that much damage in there, they will not keep it open."

"I hope that we can go back to work."

You just heard from some employees talk about what may have caused the explosion here at the plant, but we're still waiting to get that confirmed from the county and investigators.

It does not appear that any power outages happened in the area after the fire.


SkyFOX has video of the fire. Mobile users can CLICK HERE to watch it.

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