DTE plant closed indefinitely after large fire in St. Clair County

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The smoke could be seen for miles.

An explosion at a DTE Energy plant in St. Clair County has closed the facility indefinitely, but fortunately everyone got out of the plant safely.

When you look at the fire and smoke caused by a huge explosion at the DTE Energy plant in East China Township Thursday night, you can see that it's a miracle all 50 employees who were inside the facility at the time got out safely.

DTE officials say customers around the area will see no impact on their service and there is no timetable yet for when the plant will reopen.

"It was on the roof and a lot of smoke damage," said employee Mark Voigt. "A lot of fire on the flat roof there."

"We know people that work there because we're from the area," said Diana Bica, who lives in the area. "That was our biggest concern, making sure everyone got out."

"Last night I was driving down the street and you couldn't even see the smoke stacks," said Camille McLeod who lives nearby. "It was so dark and just billowing and even today, I watched two fire trucks go in."

It took between 80 to 100 firefighters from 30 departments throughout the metro area to get the inferno under control. Manpower also came in from Canada. Trucks, ladders and boats. Everything was needed to battle this fire. The next step now is monitoring any hot spots inside the plant.

"Once the fire is out, we're going to look for hot spots and continue on," said Fire Chief Dave Westrick.

So far, officials say the air quality appears to be normal.

"We haven't seen any kind of smoke or anything," Bica said. "Everything has been really good."

The plant employs a total of 294 employees who have all been assigned to other DTE facilities.

"I've got four more years to retire," said Jim Rataj, who works for DTE Energy. "They were planning on shutting this down in five years. If there is that much damage, they will not keep it open."