Neighboring Fire Departments Working Overtime to Contain Blaze

By: A.J. Hilton Email
By: A.J. Hilton Email

I've never seen a fire this big before," said Lieutenant John Ames. "This much and wood and stuff burning together at the same time."

Lt. John Ames of the Grand Ledge Fire Department tried to put an end to what he says, "seemed like an endless fire for seven hours Sunday evening."

Ames, like other fire fighters from neighboring departments, arrived Monday to extinguish the fire that sparked billows of smoke Sunday at Kamps Pallets in Benton Township.

"They (Potterville/Benton Township Fire Department) had volunteer tankers here from 50 miles away," said Lt. Ames. "From all over Ingham county and all over Eaton county."

The Potterville/Benton Township Fire Chief Jack Fox says there were upwards of two dozen departments assisting. This isn't the first time the Potterville Fire Department asked for help.

In 2006, 15 cars from a 142-car freight train jumped the track. Memorial Day of 2002, 35 cars from a 58 car train were derailed leaking chemicals and evacuating the town.

"Seems to be that around memorial day, it's necessary that we have have something major, train derailment or a big fire," said Chief Fox.

Chief Fox says the fire was close to containment around 11:45 Monday morning. But as the winds shifted, the fire regained team, and more firefighters had to be called in.

"You know, it's a thing where the whole community pulls together to help a neighboring department out when they need help," said Lt. Ames.

While firefighters were working in shifts trying to put out the blaze, others hustled to get pallets that could be saved out of harms way. Fire fighters were able to save the buildings, but won't be able to assess how much damage is done until the fire is out.

Around 5:30 Monday evening, Chief Fox said the fire had in fact been contained. He went on to add that crews put down irrigation pipes to extinguish the fire.


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