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Vol. LXXXIX, No. 35-S
The Jichigan DalyT
Ann Arbor, Michigan Ten Cents
SA TURDAY WALK-OUT SLA TED, IF BARGAINING FAILS
A2 city workers vote to strike
By TIM YAGLE
Investigators said yesterday they
have not determined the cause of a fuel
storage yard fire late Tuesday night
that caused the evacuation of more
than 300 persons from their homes bet-
ween Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.
Thousands of gallons of propane gas
exploded in the Petrolane and
Washtenaw Farmer's Oil Co. yards on
Carpenter Rd. as a truck driver was
transferring liquid propane from his
vehicle to a 30,000-gallon storage tank,
according to Pittsfield Township Police
Lt. Frank Pesta. No injuries were
THE INCIDENT marked the second
time in less than two weeks that flam-
mble gas tanks have exploded in the
Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti area.
Police evacuated area residents,
mostly from the nearby Cloverlane
apartment complex, to Red Cross
emergency centers in the Ypsilanti
State police allowed the displaced
residents to return home after a 30,000-
gallon storage tank was drained, ac-
cording to state police Detective Sgt.
SHERIFF DEPT. Commander
Charles Anderson said the truck driver,
55-year-old Don Sherman of Findlay,
Ohio, was transferring the propane
when he entered the truck cab to com-
plete some routine paperwork. Propane.
gas began seeping out of the storage
tank valve and formed a visible cloud,
which was then ignited, Anderson said.
Authorities said they don't know what
caused the ignition that sent flames 200
feet into the air.
Curtis speculated the sudden ignition
may have been caused by "a pilot light
in the area," but emphasized a definite
cause has not been pinpointed. He ad-
ded ithas not been determined if arson
was involved in the blaze.
Pittsfield Township Police Lt. Frank
Pesta explained that wind blew the
flames to the five tanks in the
Washtenaw Farmer's Oil Co. yard,
which sustained the most fire damage.
"They're (the company) pretty well
wiped out," he said.
WHILE PESTA said the cost of the
See AREA, Page 2
3 days left
By PATRICIA HAGEN
City workers voted overwhelmingly
last night to strike at midnight Satur-
day unless the city offers an acceptable
contract package before the deadline. A
strike would affect most city services
except police and fire.
Members of Local 369 of the
American Federation of State, County,
and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
rejected the city's contract offer
presented to union negotiators yester-
day and voted to walk out unless union
demands are met.
'IF I DON'T have a package, we'll go
on strike," Local President Roger
Knight told the union membership. The
walk-out would idle 305 Ann Arbor
workers, including refuse, sewage and
water plant workers and some city hall
Assistant City Administrator Patrick
Kenney said last night he was confident
the city could maintain essential ser-
vices such as sewer and water, but he
added that refuse collection would
probably be halted by a strike.
Parks and recreation, parking, and
the city planning departments also
would be affected by a strike.
"I'm sure we would initially man the
essential plants with supervisors and
See ANN ARBOR, Page 2
FUEL STORAGE TANKS at the Washtenaw Farmers Oil Co. in Pittsfield Town-
ship were sprayed yesterday with a cooling stream of water to lessen the chance
of explosions. A chain of explosions ripped through the nearby Petrolane Gas
Services Yard late Tuesday night. Gracing the fuel storage yard are objects from
an antique shop destroyed by the explosions.
Trucker strike sends local prices up
By SARA ANSPACH
Reports of meat and produce short-
ages from Ann Arbor merchants mark
the impact of the nationwide indepen-
dent truckers' strike, now in its third
The six smaller area markets sur-
veyed have been hit harder by the
See related story, Page 5
strike than the two supermarkets
queried. Although the larger stores
have not yet experienced widespread
shortages, both said they expect to be
caught soon by the produce and meat
crunch if the strike continues.
"CHICKEN!" EXCLAIMED Mario
Carolo, manager of Carlo Meat market,
407 N. 5th Ave., when asked his scarcest
commodity. The strike has impeded
poultry-filled trucks, traveling from
Alabama and other southern states to
Detroit, from where most local mer-
chants are supplied.
Some stores reported shortages in
fruits and vegetables, which also must
be brought from the southern states
See STRIKE, Page5
THE NATIONWIDE STRIKE by independent truckers has prevented many
farmers on the west coast from shipping their produce east, creating a glut of
fresh produce in California markets. This well-stocked stall is in the high volume
open-air Grand Central Market in Los Angeles.