"DETROIT -- A fire at the Marathon Petroleum Corp. refinery here late last month caused little structural damage, but its timing could not have been worse for the plant's owner. The blaze, which was quickly extinguished by the refinery's emergency personnel, occurred on the morning that U.S. EPA and advocacy groups were touring the plant's industrial neighborhood as part of a national environmental justice conference at a downtown conference center."
"Billowing smoke from Marathon's gas flare safety system stood out against a slightly overcast sky, serving as a beacon for visitors who had come to see first hand the impact of industrial pollution on low-income and minority communities.
The opportunity was not lost on the Oakwood Heights neighborhood that has been fighting an ongoing $2.2 billion expansion of the refinery. The fire and subsequent evacuation of the refinery's contract employees -- it wasn't deemed necessary to evacuate the nearby neighborhood -- fueled the anger of about 30 protesters who made their opposition to Marathon known along the route traveled by the tour bus between the refinery expansion and Oakwood Heights."
John McArdle reports for Greenwire September 12, 2011.