Southwest Detroit Residents Demand 'Buy Our Homes' After Refinery Smell Snafu

By WWJ Newsradio 950

(WWJ) Please buy our homes.

That's the plea this morning from Detroit residents who live near the city's Marathon refinery after a bad smell blanketed the region Sunday because of an issue there.

WWJ's Charlie Langton reports neighbors in the Jefferies subdivision -- who live across from the refinery -- are mad.

"They say the stink from the refinery makes it almost unliveable," Langton reported.

Emma Lockridge, a resident and community activist, agrees, saying the acrid scent she endures "smells like death."

"It burns your nose, your eyes," she told Langton, "It's putrid. It has a sweet smell if you will, it's gross."

She added that Marathon had offered to buy their homes when they did a $2.2 billion expansion in 2011, but never come through with an offer for those in the Jefferies subdivision. Homes were bought in nearby Oakridge, she said.  

For Marathon's part, they say there are no dangerous substances associated with the smell, and they are working to eliminate it.

"Did they do this because they're white and we're black?" Lockridge asked. She noted that the situation wouldn't be news except the wind carried the smell to downtown Detroit, a gentrified area with billion-dollar businesses, ever-expanding home and rental prices.