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Ford employees sent home after HQ evacuated due to fire

Michael Wayland
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co.’s world headquarters in Dearborn was evacuated Monday morning due to a fire coming from an electrical substation in the basement of the building. All employees were sent home for the day.

Ford spokesman Mike Moran said an undetermined amount of employees were instructed to leave the 12-story building as a precaution due to the smell of smoke being reported.

“We’re taking every precaution that should be taken to ensure the safety of all the employees,” he said.

Employees can monitor @FordOnline for updates or call the North America Emergency Information Hotline at 1-800-603-3673.

The disruption means that October U.S. sales results will not be reported on Tuesday.

The evacuation started between 9 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., according to Moran. As of 10:40 a.m., power had been shut down and the fire was contained, he said.

About 1,500 employees work at the headquarters, located at 1 American Road. Just before noon, Moran sent a statement that all employees who work at headquarters were sent home for the day, though he noted that those with the ability to work remotely will do so.

Dearborn Fire Chief Joseph Murray said everything “is under control” at the scene, adding “there’s no immediate threat to anybody.”

In a statement arriving just before noon, DTE Energy said it had “cut electric supply to the headquarters as a safety measure.”

Ford’s world headquarters, also known as the Glass House, was built in the 1950s.

The company earlier this year announced a 10-year renovation plan to its headquarters and surrounding campus in Dearborn.

Ford’s new product campus will double the number of employees who work in the area now, from 12,000 to 24,000.

Renovations will include “connected facilities” with the latest wired and wireless hardware; a central green area that links buildings; and energy-saving features like geothermal heating and cooling. The centerpiece will be a new 700,000-square-foot design center with studios and an outdoor design courtyard. Ford will demolish the old space, except for the 14,000-square-foot design showroom.

mwayland@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2504

Twitter: @MikeWayland

Staff Writer James David Dickson contributed