Explosions rocked Flint’s East Side Tuesday, June 2, as the city warned residents to prepare for simulated ammunition fire and helicopters as U.S. Army soldiers begin 10 days of training here.
The city said in a news release that residents should expect to hear the loud noises associated with the training until June 12.
No specific locations were identified by the city and a spokeswoman for the Army was not immediately available for comment.
Three Flint police cars and several men dressed in combat fatigues were in the area of the former Lowell Junior High School on North Vernon Avenue Tuesday immediately before two loud explosions just after 2 p.m., jarring unsuspecting neighbors.
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“They should warn the residents around here at least when there’s something that loud and scary,” said Nicole Robinson, 28. “That’s pretty crazy.”
A city news release says, “Elements of the U.S. Army are conducting training June 1-12 in designated parts of southeast Michigan, including the Flint area.”
The exercises involve the use of “training simunitions and helicopters. Sounds associated with the training may be heard in the local area,” the city’s statement says. “The Flint Police Department is aware of the training and will contact residents in the immediate area where training will occur.”
Several residents, some just a few blocks from Lowell, said Tuesday that they received no warning about the training.
“This is still kind of a quiet little block,” said Susan Book, who has lived there for about four years. “We like to know what’s going on.”
Neighbor Joy Daron, 56, rushed from her home after hearing an explosion, thinking a tree branch had crashed into the roof of her single-story home off Franklin Avenue.
“It sounded like a cannon,” Daron said from her driveway.
The city said the Flint training “will be of great benefit to Army personnel who may be deployed to areas of urban operation.”
“The U.S. Army sincerely appreciates the cooperation of the citizens and local businesses in the vicinity of this training and apologizes for any disturbances,” the statement says.