Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Rouge River in Detroit caught fire 50 years ago today

Fire - Phote by Hans Braxmeier
It was 50 years ago today, on October 9, 1969, when a spark from an acetylene torch lit some debris along the Rouge River in Detroit. From there, flames spread quickly to the surface of the river.

Back then, the Rouge River regularily ran thick with industrial waste just like other bodies of water did in the Detroit area. Within seconds of the initial spark, the Rouge Rive was soon on fire.

Flames shot 50 feet into the air, according to some observers at the time. News reports from the era tell us that It took a total of 65 firefighters and ten pieces of firefighting equipment to extinquish the blazes on the Rouge River.

The Rouge River has come a long way since that day 50 years ago. Changes in environmental regualtions have made it so that it's no longer acceptable to dump industrial waste into our rivers. This has done much to make our rives a safe habitat for fish and birds and to make them a place that humans can enjoy as well.

Plus, in the intervening decades, the Rouge River has not caught fire one.

Regardless, I believe it's important for Detroiters to take a moment to remember the day when the Rouge River caught fire.

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