'Frankenstein's lair' - residents worry about Marathon plant fumes

A strong odor in the Detroit area is related to a flare from a Marathon Petroleum refinery.

While officials with the oil company say the discharge causing the odor is harmless, that didn't stop residents including Rep. Rashida Tlaib from voicing their displeasure with the smell.

"When they say 'guess what, everything's in control, what that was isn't going to hurt you,' that was a blatant lie,"said Tlaib.


Against the backdrop of the sight of a malfunctioning flare that released a strong odor drifting for miles, a group of protestors congregated near the Marathon plant. 

"Definitely smelled, felt, coughed, it affected him (her 6-year-old son) for days," said Rachel Thomson

Because the area is notorious pediatric asthma, the compounding of chemicals released by the plant worried several of the residents outside. A marathon official said the smell was most likely due to a chemical called mercaptain.

"Which is a susbtance added to natural gas in order to give it a smell," said Jamal Kheiry, a spokesperson with Marathon.

Marathon is still is in the process of deactivating the flare.