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Suncor offers apology, explanation after ash rains down on Colorado neighborhood

On Dec. 11 people in Commerce City reported seeing ash fall from the sky and cars were seen covered in ash.

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Suncor is apologizing Friday and finally giving a clear explanation about why their plant covered a neighborhood in ash earlier this month. 

Just before 11 a.m. on Dec. 11, the South Adams County Fire Department got a call to investigate a strange odor at Adams City Middle School. People were also reporting they were seeing ash falling from the sky. 

RELATED: Explaining Suncor's explanation about the raining ash

Photos were being shared of cars covered in ash, and people in Commerce City were left to wonder where the ash came from and if it was dangerous. 

Credit: Colorado Latino Forum
Ash on cars, 12/11/19

In the afternoon, Suncor Energy said the ash was coming from their facility.  

According to the plant's explanation posted on Facebook Friday, this happened because someone added to much oil to a piece of machinery while they were starting it up. 

Instead of suspending the process, officials said that person continued to start it up and that's what caused the unusual emissions. 

Suncor and an MSU professor said the emissions were not hazardous. 

RELATED: Environment activists show up to the Sustainable Denver Summit with their own message

Friday's post also included an apology: 

"We sincerely apologize for the release of catalyst from our fluidized catalytic cracker unit (FCC) on December 11. We know this incident created significant concern among our neighbors and the broader community. This incident does not reflect the level of care and concern that we have for the community around us. We know that you expect more from us and we want you to know that we expect more from ourselves."

Suncor said they have "taken a number of steps" to prevent something like this from happening again. This includes changing the start-up procedures and meeting with staff to be sure they understand those procedures.

The company said they hope to re-start the machine that caused the problem in the next few days.

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