“It sounded like a bomb went off”: Residents react after White Lake refinery explosion

[Note from BenIndy: Another day, another refinery explosion. Take  a minute to review the drone footage available below. Particularly striking in this article was the resident quoted as admitting that she and many of her neighbors were unaware that they lived in close proximity to a refinery. This is not uncommon in refinery towns, including Benicia. What if there had been an urgent need to evacuate nearby residential neighborhoods? Situations like this demonstrate just how important clear, timely, and accurate communication between industrial/corporate interests, local government, local media, and the general public is to protecting the health and safety of refinery-town residents. An informed and engaged community is a safer and healthier community.]

CBS Detroit, by Luke Laster, November 26, 2023

WHITE LAKE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) – White Lake police and township fire officials are working to discover the cause of an explosion at a refinery plant in White Lake Friday night.

It happened shortly before 10:30 p.m. in the area of Young Road and Bogie Lake Road.

It took a few hours before crews put it out, and White Lake Township’s fire chief, John Holland, says they don’t yet know what caused the flames.

“Everything shook. I was afraid. I didn’t know what the heck was happening,” says White Lake resident Chelsea Vanhorn.

Vanhorn lives in Cedarbrook Estates, a mobile home park just over a mile away from the fossil fuel recovery plant owned and operated by Hound Resources.

“My plants fell off my shelves. I thought we got bombed,” Vanhorn said.

Following what Vanhorn said was the explosion that shook her home, other residents of the mobile home park found themselves outside with their phones rolling around 10:30 p.m. Friday. It was then that she caught a second explosion on camera.

She says she didn’t even know a refinery was nearby. Many of her neighbors didn’t know either.

“We all go down by the clubhouse, you know. Try to follow it to see what it is, and it was a huge fire. The biggest fire I’ve seen. It was huge and the blackest smoke. It was so black. It was very scary,” Vanhorn said.

An investigation into the incident is ongoing.