Flat Rock residents return to homes after evacuation but 'worried what could happen next'

Less than a month after a gas leak in Flat Rock prompted some people to evacuate, everyone is now getting the all-clear to return to their homes.

"The amount of assets thrown at this were staggering 175 people in our small city hall 24/7 since it started - was not an exaggeration," said Mayor Mark Hammond.

Officials on the county, state, and federal levels worked around the clock were testing air, water and soil samples after high levels of benzene were found in the sewer system  - a result of the gas leak that started at the nearby Ford Assembly Plant.

Benzene is a carcinogen known to cause cancer.

"Who knows if there’s a cancer cluster in the next  15 to 20 years in this surrounding area?  Well it's too late at that point to really know," said resident Josh Digue. "What actions are being taken to take care of these people if there is?"

Hammond is equally concerned.

"We are all worried another what’s going to happen next, and what could happen in the future - and nobody’s turning a blind eye to that," he said. "The EPA is not going away, the Department of Environmental Quality from the state is not going away. Ford is not going away, we're not going away. So if in this stuff does surface in the future, we’re going to meet it head-on."

The Ford Flat Rock Assembly Plant.

The Ford Flat Rock Assembly Plant.

Chelsea Hopfner is a personal trainer who works out of her home. Her air quality was tested on Labor Day … she got the all clear and decided not to evacuate.

Her business was affected and some clients opted to cancel their sessions with her.

"They didn't know if it was safe to breathe in the air," she said. "We could smell fumes and you didn't know if it was safe. They were a little nervous for their health and I was too, because I didn't want to put them at risk either."

Resident Josh Digue.

Resident Josh Digue. 

Now that the air is safe officials are now focusing on the investigation into what caused this leak in the first place.