Fire burns at the US Farathane plastics facility in Auburn Hills, MI.
Photo by Marybeth Simon Stewart

A massive blaze broke out at plastics manufacturing facility in Auburn Hills, MI, Tuesday, fire officials said.

Billowing clouds of smoke could be seen miles away with flames shooting as high as 30 to 50 feet in the air from US Farathane. In addition, there were reports of explosions at the facility.

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Storage containers were on fire outside the plastics facility, said Police Lt. Ryan Gagnon. While the plant itself was not engulfed, minor heat damage occurred on the south side of the building structure.

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The plant was evacuated. No injuries were reported.

“Initially it looks like it started in a dumpster which contained cardboard,” Gagnon said. “And then it then caught fire to basically storage stacks, plastic storage stacks that contained cardboard.”

“Fortunately at this point in time there’s no toxic materials other than melting plastic – which, you know, is not good to breathe in,” Gagnon added. “But the smoke is going straight up into the air to the southeast. There’s no other forms of hazardous material stored in these containers in the back.”

The incident was elevated to a 2nd alarm which brought in additional fire personnel and resources.

It was estimated that 20,000 storage bins were involved, according to police, who said the City of Rochester FD’s drone helped drastically in identifying hot spots in extinguishing the fire.

Officials with the City of Auburn Hills said in a tweet that there were “no toxic chemical issues.”

The cause of the fire, which was out by around 4:30 p.m., is still unknown. The city said US Farathane is conducting an investigation alongside local authorities.

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