Ford extends shutdown of Mustang plant following gas leak


DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. has extended the shutdown of its Mustang plant in Flat Rock, Mich., following a gas leak that has prompted the evacuation of hundreds of residents near the factory.

The plant has been closed since late last week after a gas leak there contaminated the city’s sewer system. Health officials over the weekend warned residents that they could be exposed to hazardous levels of benzene, which is flammable and can cause long-term health problems. The evacuation area includes several hundred homes, a Ford dealership and a Manheim vehicle reconditioning center.

Ford spokesman T.R. Reid said some Ford employees were among those asked to evacuate their homes.

“We extended production downtime at [Flat Rock Assembly Plant] from the holiday weekend through this week so that Ford people could focus on addressing the underlying issue and needs of people in the community,” Reid said Tuesday.

The extension of the plant shutdown was first reported late Monday by The Detroit News.

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