Evacuated Mennel Milling employees watch this morning as Dowagiac Fire Department suits up for a chlorine release at their plant at Mill and Spaulding Streets. According to the emergency exercise scenario, there were three people killed - two in the chlorine room and one outside. (The Daily News/John Eby)
Evacuated Mennel Milling employees watch this morning as Dowagiac Fire Department suits up for a chlorine release at their plant at Mill and Spaulding Streets. According to the emergency exercise scenario, there were three people killed - two in the chlorine room and one outside. (The Daily News/John Eby)

Archived Story

First responders swarm Mennel Milling

Published 8:48am Thursday, September 10, 2009

By JOHN EBY
Dowagiac Daily News

A whooping alarm quickly became background noise shortly before 8 this morning as Spaulding Street filled with emergency responders – a firetruck, ambulance and haz-mat suits for chlorine released at Mennel Milling Co.

It was all part of a a four-hour emergency exercise, which also included a tabletop evaluation at City Hall and testing of the new decontamination equipment added with the multi-million-dollar emergency department at Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital.

Patty Klug of the Dowagiac Police Department advised Wednesday that if unusual activity, emergency vehicles and responders in the area, or receive phone calls from concerned residents, not to be alarmed and to assure them that this is an exercise – not a real emergency situation.

Mennel Milling’s neighbors were notified.

“This exercise is a cooperative training exercise with the City of Dowagiac, Dowagiac Department of Public Safety (Police and Fire Departments), Coloma Emergency Medical Services, Mennel Milling, Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital, Cass County Emergency Management, Cass County Sheriff’s Office and Cass County E-911 Dispatch,” said DPS Director Tom Atkinson.

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