EAST CHINA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Fire crews were working Thursday night to extinguish a blaze at a power plant (see photos in gallery) along the St. Clair River, northeast of Detroit, where there were no reports of injuries.
The fire was reported about 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the DTE Energy St. Clair Power Plant in East China Township after a coal-fired generation unit that produces electricity inside the facility caught fire, the utility said in a statement.
"Employees were evacuated immediately and safely," Detroit-based DTE Energy said. "At this time, there are no known injuries at the facility. DTE successfully invoked its emergency plant procedures and shut down all other units at the site."
Firefighters from across St. Clair County were called to the plant as thick, billowing black and gray smoke rose from the burning structure. No residential evacuations were reported Thursday night.
Roads in the area were closed and traffic was detoured away from the plant.
A noise from the plant caught Mary Buslepp's attention shortly before she noticed the smoke. Buslepp has lived near the facility about a dozen years.
"They blow the stacks occasionally, but this was unusually loud," she told The Times-Herald of Port Huron.
The plant has been in service since 1953 and employs 280 workers, according to the newspaper.
DTE Energy said in June that coal-fired units at the plant are among eight at three of its facilities that are slated to be shut down within the next seven years.
The units in East China Township, the River Rouge facility in the Detroit area and the Trenton facility in suburban Detroit are to be retired between 2020 and 2023, DTE Energy said.