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The HAZMAT team evacuated multiple homes on Detroit’s east side after a fire and hazardous materials situation at a chemical company.

The two-alarm fire broke out at 2:30 p.m. and officials said it was a level three HAZMAT situation; with level four being the worst.

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Detroit Police Sgt. Michael Woody said they evacuated a three-block radius from the chemical company.

At nearby White Elementary, all students ended up going home for the day. The DDOT, the Health Department and the Salvation Army responded to the scene to help with the evacuations.

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Billowing smoke was visible for miles and police asked people to avoid the area; but a spokesman for Chemical Technology said nothing in the smoke was dangerous to public health.

Company owner Giarard Weber was inside the building when the fire broke out.

“It was an accident,” Weber said. “A small fire started in an area and we got out, evacuated the building, and called 911.”

Weber said emergency response time was “very slow,” with firefighters arriving on the scene 30 minutes after the initial call. Fire officials were not immediately available to discuss respond time.

Taras Hayda who works at the Electric Tool Company about two blocks away, said flames and black smoke were shooting into the air from the roof.

“It’s a pretty bad odor that the smoke is smelling like …that I couldn’t tell you exactly,” Hayda said.

The fire was out by around 6 p.m., and evacuated residents were able to return to their homes. There were no injuries.

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