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City workers in Warren say bricks falling from abandoned smokestack

'It currently has pieces of bricks falling off of it, close to where workers work'
Aging smokestack in Warren
Posted at 3:55 PM, Jan 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-11 18:23:14-05

(WXYZ) — Growing fears are emerging for three dozen city workers in Warren, who say an aging smokestack is threatening their safety at the waste treatment plant.

Considered a danger to more than 30 workers and contractors, the smokestack, which was built in 1957, has been abandoned for more than 50 years, and they tell us it’s now raining bricks.

“It currently has pieces of bricks falling off of it, close to where workers work,” says chief operator Robert Dranberg.

Dranberg is sounding the alarm to city leaders about what’s happening at the facility off 14 Mile Rd.

In Mid-December, Council voted down a plan to spend $375,000 to remove the structure, which is no longer in use.

“I do not know why this council is against it. Possibly it’s politically motivated,” says Plant Director Bryan Clor.

7 Action News also reached out to city council for their perspective.

“I was elected by the people to represent them. I am not going to spend money based on, 'just give me half a million for this or that.' There has to be documentation. I’ll vote to tear it down if a consultant says it needs to come down, let’s get it down,” says Council VP Gary Watts.

The Mayor is also stressing the urgency of the situation.

“It may crumble and fall on top of another major structure, which could cause a shutdown of the plant, and delay processing of sewage in the city,” says Mayor Jim Fouts.

City leaders tell us they hope there will be progress addressing this issue in the coming weeks. We’ll stay on top of this to bring you the very latest developments.