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Chemical plant fire prompts Detroit school evacuation

By Joseph Lichterman

DETROIT (Reuters) - Detroit officials evacuated an elementary school and other buildings within a one-block radius of a chemical plant that erupted in flames on Thursday.

The blaze erupted at the Chemical Technology Inc on the city's east side, said Detroit Fire Lt. Theresa Halsell. She did not know how many people were affected by the evacuation nor did she know of any injuries.

GEE White Academy, an elementary school, was evacuated at about 3 p.m. ET (2000 GMT) at the advice of the police, according to Basel Al-Jabari, business manager for the school. The school has 447 students and 42 staff members. He said there were no injuries.

Video footage of the fire on local media shows a large plume of black smoke coming from the plant.

Chemical Technology makes adhesives, coatings, paints and cleaners, according to its website. The phone did not ring at the company.

(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski in Chicago and Joseph Lichterman in Detroit; Editing by Bernard Orr and Leslie Gevirtz)

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